Governor Whitmer announced her support for a series of policy plans for police reform in Michigan, calling on Michigan law enforcement agencies to enhance their training and policies to help create a police culture where all Michiganders are treated with dignity and respect under the law.
“The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor were a result of hundreds of years of inequity and institutional racism against Black Americans,” said Governor Whitmer. “Here in Michigan, we are taking action and working together to address the inequities Black Michiganders face every day. That’s why I’m calling on Michigan police departments to strengthen their training and policies to save lives and keep people safe. I am also ready to partner with the Michigan Legislature and law enforcement officials to pass police reform bills into law.”
These measures include requesting that the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) provide guidance to law enforcement agencies on continuing education, including diversity and implicit bias training along with encouraging police departments to participate in reporting on the use of force by police departments. The governor also urged police agencies to require their officers to intervene when they observe an excessive use of force by another officer, which will save lives and help to keep people safe.
“We recognize the shortcomings of the systems in place today—systems that have left Black, Latino, and other communities of color feeling underserved, even threatened by law enforcement,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist. “People across Michigan have been calling for changes to police practices, and these actions are clear steps in the direction of needed reform. We are not done, and we strongly encourage cities and counties to adopt and enact local measures that build trust, accountability, and comprehensive, non-discriminatory experience of safety for everyone in our state.”
“I strongly support requiring the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards re-examining, recruiting, hiring, training, and retention requirements for Michigan’s police officers,” said Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. “This examination is not only long overdue but it is absolutely imperative.”
“We look forward to partnering with Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist to reform the systemic racial inequities in this country,” said Michigan Legislative Black Caucus Chair and Senator Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit). “This is a time for rational thought and actions, exemplified by those using their voices and feet to march for justice and we look forward to working with leaders in the legislature to address these critical issues. Silence is no longer an option”
“Out of the fractured sadness, despair, and widespread anger at the tragic murder of George Floyd has arisen a powerful, united voice,” said Detroit Caucus Chair and Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit). “We know that we can do anything when we do it together, so let’s keep talking and moving the arc to bend toward justice because the world is listening.”