Attorney General proposes new changes to policing

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 23:12:13-04

LANSING, Mich. — Attorney General Dana Nessel has laid out a new framework to hold Michigan law enforcement officers accountable.

The seven proposals include:

  • Authorizing Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) to suspend or revoke a license when an officer: (a) engages in conduct that adversely affects the ability and fitness of the police officer to perform his or her job duties; or (b) engages in conduct that is detrimental to the reputation, integrity or discipline of the police department where the police officer is employed.
  • Mandating that law enforcement agencies maintain all disciplinary records of a police officer in his or her personnel file.
  • Requiring MCOLES to create a statewide misconduct registry of verified claims that is accessible by the public.
  • Amending the Public Employee Benefits Forfeiture Act (MCL 38.2701, et al.) so that officers forfeit their retirement benefits upon conviction of a felony related to misconduct while on duty.
  • Mandating law enforcement agencies report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion and age.
  • Creating an independent investigative and prosecutorial process for deaths that involve the actions of law enforcement officers.
  • Requiring continuing education for law enforcement officers as a license requirement; improving and standardizing police policies and trainings (including de-escalation, cultural competence and implicit bias trainings).

Nessel said she and her team had been working on the proposals since the death of George Floyd.

"Frankly, I didn't want to see this moment pass you know I don't want George Floyd's death, to be for nothing," said Nessel. "And for all these protestors, you know, these people who have congregated all over our city and all over the nation. They wanted to have their voices heard, and as the top law enforcement official in the state, I can say this in response - message received. I understand your frustration I understand your complaint, and now I'm trying to do something about it."

Nessel says it currently takes a felony or very serious misdemeanor for any officer to lose their license to be a police officer, adding she believes it's "the crux of the problem."

The proposals allow more oversight from MCOLES.

Alongside the Nessel's announcement, President Trump is now calling for a national database to track use of force. He also signed an executive order that offers funding incentives for police departments that increase training and meet Justice Department Standards.

The order also urges law enforcement agencies to add additional stuff such as social workers and mental health workers to respond to 911 calls.