LANSING, Mich. — Lansing City Councilman Brian Jackson thinks the process of filing a complaint against the city's police department needs to be more transparent to the public and is hoping a proposal he added to City Council’s budget priority list a couple of years ago will be approved this year.
When police officers stop someone, they sometimes give the person a contact card. Jackson thinks instructions on how to file a complaint should be printed on the back of those cards.
“We want police accountability. Every person wants that, and this will be one step to assuring that, because...if a police officer contacts citizen they should leave a card and on the back it should say, 'If there's a problem, call this number,'" Jackson said.
The councilman works as a public defender for Ingham County and says it's clear that people need to understand how to lodge a complaint.
“A lot of times, people are just happy they made it away without a ticket but some of those interactions could be inappropriate and, if a person thinks that, they have a right to go to their Police Department and go to their officials to have it heard," Jackson said.
Interim Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee says the department is all for making the process clearer and has already started working on the issue.
“Best practices show that this has worked as a de-escalation tool. So if you’re in some type of conflict with a citizen on a traffic stop, you don’t have to get into an argument about 'What’s your badge number? What’s your name? I want a number to call to make a complaint,'" Sosebee said.
Sosebee says he’s just waiting on the final stamp of approval.
“We’re already vetted through the process. We have cards that we’ve put out to our Police Board of Commissioners who are also intricate in this discussion and pushed for these updated cards. So we’re kind of just waiting to get that process done and the cards will already be in place," Sosebee said.
Jackson says adding the complaint process language to the back of police contact cards wouldn’t cost much and he’s hoping the administration approves the initiative.
“I'm hoping that it's a priority to everybody especially since it shouldn't cost too much," he said.