Law enforcement putting more effort into community policing - WNEM TV 5

Law enforcement putting more effort into community policing

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Two police shootings this week are under investigation and the use of lethal force is once again in question.

Local police officers face scrutiny because of national events, but many of them have already been through programs to help prevent them from taking drastic steps.

Michigan State Police Trooper Will Smith said his fellow law enforcement officers get the necessary training to diffuse tense situations. He insisted the best way to prevent a violent interaction is for citizens and police to engage with each other often and long before they're both faced with that dreaded tense encounter.

"We interact with citizens at a young age. The youth in our area, we build that relationship and that trust so that when they grow up and get older they have that trust already there. So we're not trying to make up for lost ground," Smith said.

One effort police make to build that trust is with Light Up the City. It's an event where state and local police, along with community leaders, engage with the community to build better relationships.

The new style of policing is known as community policing.

Smith works as a community liaison with the state police. He said the state police as well as local police focus just as much, if not more, on efforts making sure residents know officers by first name than training that focuses on dealing with a potentially violent interaction.

The goal is to make sure everyone goes home safe.

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