IMAGE: Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed additional police reform policies on Monday, June 29.

The four-pronged plan, which was developed with community leaders and law enforcement organizations, will make significant reforms in policy, personnel, participation and community engagement, and prevention and accountability to address racial disparities in how law enforcement is applied toward communities of color, Whitmer's office said in a press release.

“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.”

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said the plan is a clear step in the direction of needed reform.

“These reforms will help us build a more just and equitable law enforcement system and ensure the safety of Black Michiganders across the state," Gilchrist said.

The following reforms were proposed on June 29:

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.

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement regarding Whitmer's police reform announcement: 

“The Michigan Democratic Party supports the police reforms announced today by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The proposal supports a wide range of reforms and policy changes, like banning chokeholds and limiting no-knock warrants, and accountability and transparency reforms. It also focuses on ways to promote better police-community relations, which is critical to improving and building trust between police departments and the communities they serve. These reforms are a step in the right direction towards ending systemic racism against Black Americans and people of color in our country, and ensuring that all Michiganders, no matter their race or their zip code, receive equal treatment when it comes to public safety. We applaud Governor Whitmer’s leadership on this issue and look forward to these reforms being implemented swiftly.”

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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