A local man stole a Michigan State Police cruiser and crashed it, resulting in his death over the weekend.
The incident has sparked a lot of questions, including why MSP troopers put 24-year-old Phillip Everett in the front seat.
It turns out that is the general practice for the MSP. When they take somebody into custody they lodge them in the front passenger seat.
MSP said none of their cars have cages in them. It is standard procedure to handcuff a person behind the back and place them in the front passenger seat with the seat belt on.
"That is the way it's always, it's always done. And it's for officer safety," MSP Lt. David Kaiser said.
Kaiser said too much can go wrong if a suspect is in the back seat. The back seat is full of equipment and firearms.
Kaiser said he doesn't know why cages aren't in the vehicles, but he said he's worked at other departments that do have cages and he has had mixed results.
"I've also had people kick out my back window and dive out the window while I was driving down the road with a cage in the car," Kaiser said.
Kaiser has been with MSP for more than 20 years. He has no reservations about transporting someone handcuffed in the front passenger seat.
"It's worked for us as an agency for the last 100 years. This is the first incident we've had of this magnitude," Kaiser said.
MSP headquarters said through policy and training they have developed a way to safely transport prisoners that allows them to minimize the need for cages.
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