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Gov. Whitmer unveils four-pronged police reform proposal

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Posted at 2:11 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 14:34:17-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has released a series of proposals for reforming policing in the state of Michigan.

The multi-pronged approach is designed to reform policing across four key areas: policy; personnel; partnership/community engagement; and prevention and accountability.

“All Michiganders, no matter their community or the color of their skin, deserve equal treatment under the law,” Whitmer said. “This proposal will help us ensure that law enforcement officials treat all Michiganders with humanity and respect and will help us keep our communities safe. I will continue working with leaders in law enforcement to make public safety more just and equitable in Michigan.”

The governor's office laid out the following on the reforms:

Policy: The Whitmer administration supports legislation that makes the following reforms to law enforcement policies:

  • Ban chokeholds/windpipe blockage.
  • Further limit the use of no-knock warrants.
  • Require "duty to intervene" policies.
  • Classify false, racially-motivated 911 calls as a hate crime.
  • Require in-service training for all licensed law enforcement officers to maintain licensure.
  • Authorize MCOLES to do the following:
  • Audit law enforcement agencies to ensure they are accurately reporting violations of law or improper use of force.
  • Establish penalties for agencies who don’t comply with reporting.
  • Direct the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Diversion Council to make recommendations on best practices and training for police departments when responding to situations involving persons with mental illnesses.

Personnel: The Whitmer administration will work with leaders in law enforcement to make the following reforms to build a more empathetic police force:

  • Provide incentive programs for law enforcement agencies to hire/retain officers who live where they work.
  • Require retention of disciplinary records resulting from violations of law or improper use of force.

Partnership/Community Engagement: The Whitmer administration will promote the following community engagement strategies to strengthen trust between police officers and the communities they serve:

  • Invest in programming in communities around the state that connect local police and community leaders to build relationships.
  • Invest in expanding existing community relationship programs to break down barriers between police and communities around the state.

Prevention and Accountability: The Whitmer Administration will support legislation that makes the following reforms to improve transparency and accountability in investigations:

  • Require independent investigations of all shootings and use of force that resulted in the death of unarmed civilians at the hands of law enforcement.

Today's proposals follow several other measures taken by Whitmer, including adding four seats to The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, including the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and requesting the commission provide guidance to law enforcement for continuing education, including diversity and implicit bias training.