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Michigan State Police says it's working to improve transparency, relationship with public

Michigan State Police

The Michigan State Police says it is working to improve transparency, racial equity, and its relationship with the public, with three new actions.  

The first action is making it easier for the public to find out things like state police policies, how to make a complaint, and statistical reports that include traffic stops and use of force by factors like race, all compiled on a new website. The website shows that the percentage of Black motorists being stopped by state police has been ticking up since 2017.  

The second action is creating a "Bridges to BLUE" citizen advisory council, with a diverse group of members selected from across the state. The ten members include an imam in Bloomfield Hills, a Black reverend in Flint, a white consultant in Traverse City, and Black educator in Detroit. 

The council will research and advise the state police on the best practices for improving community engagement.

Finally, the Michigan State Police will have a third party consultant examine traffic stop, use of force, and arrest data in the context of other factors. 

From the press release:

The MSP is committed to unbiased policing and the equitable treatment of all persons. Existing MSP policy prohibits stopping or detaining anyone based solely on their race or ethnicity. If an enforcement member is accused of stopping a motorist without a legal basis, a thorough and objective internal investigation is conducted. Discipline, up to and including termination, can result from sustained allegations of policy violations.

Earlier this year, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel introduced proposals for changes to all police agencies in the state, including a police misconduct registry and better reporting on use of force.

Nessel says she hopes to work with the state Legislature, police trade organizations, and the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to enact the changes.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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