Whitmer proposes several more police reform measures for Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer discusses her thoughts on criticism from Republican leaders over her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer discusses her thoughts on criticism from Republican leaders over her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.(WJRT)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 1:39 PM EDT
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(6/29/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a dozen more proposals Monday for how to reform police work around Michigan.

She laid out a four-pronged plan to change policy, personnel, community engagement and accountability measures.

“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."

She supports legislation making the following changes to police policies:

-- A requirement for an independent investigation of all police shootings or uses of force that result in the death of an unarmed civilian.

-- A ban on chokeholds or any use of force that blocks the windpipe.

-- More limits on no-knock warrants.

-- A requirement for all police agencies to implement policies for other officers to intervene if they see something improper take place.

-- Classify false 911 calls made with racial motivation as a hate crime.

-- Require in-service training for all police officers.

-- Allow the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to audit police agencies for reports of law violations or improper use of force. The commission could enact penalties for agencies that don't comply.

-- Have the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Diversion Council make recommendations for police dealing with people suffering from mental illnesses.

For law enforcement personnel, Whitmer wants to provide incentives for them to live in the area where they work and require police agencies to retain disciplinary records.

To increase community engagement, Whitmer hopes to promote programs that build relationships between police and local leaders while expanding existing programs.

Michigan State Police Col. Joe Gasper supports the changes that Whitmer is proposing.

“Law enforcement derives its authority from the public who entrusts us to protect and serve them, and I am fully committed to working with Governor Whitmer and her administration to increase accountability and improve transparency in order to build community support and trust," he said.

Whitmer already expanded the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to include the Michigan Department of Civil Rights director and three community leaders in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneaplis, Minn.

She also requested the commission provide guidance on continuing training for police around the state, including the topics of implicit bias and diversity.

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