law enforcement | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

law enforcement

Washtenaw County Courthouse
Charles W. Chapman / Wikimedia Commons / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

After a months-long investigation into Washtenaw County court records, a citizen-led group has released hard data on racial disparities in how people are charged with crimes. The report found that in one of Michigan’s most populous, and progressive, counties, Black people are charged with felonies at rates between two and 29 times higher than white people charged with the same crimes.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan Democratic congresswomen are calling on Republicans in the U.S. Senate to take action on legislation on policing.

Specifically, Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) want the Senate to take up the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.  

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A proposal to change how police are trained has been introduced in the Michigan Legislature.

Democratic State Senator Jeff Irwin wants to add certification requirements to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). That’s the required certification before someone can become a law enforcement officer. The additional training would be on implicit bias, de-escalation techniques, and learning about mental health issues.

protesters at the capitol
Abigail Censky / WKAR

Last week, dozens of anti-lockdown protestors, some of them carrying firearms, crowded into the Michigan Capitol building to make their views known to the assembled lawmakers at full volume. It’s not unusual to see guns around the Capitol. Second Amendment Day brings gun enthusiasts to the House and Senate galleries every year. But photos and footage from the April 30 protest shook up a lot of people, and the Michigan State Capitol Commission is discussing whether some action might be appropriate. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This year, state lawmakers will try to rein in Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture law.

Under current law, Michigan police may seize cash, cars or other property from people suspected of crimes, even if they’re never convicted of committing a crime.

State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) is backing legislation that would require a conviction to forfeit property worth up to $50,000.

Director David Van Wie and the films narrator Thomas Howell
Courtesy of David Van Wie


In 1971, the Detroit Police Department launched the S.T.R.E.S.S unit, an acronym for “Stop the Robberies and Enjoy Safe Streets.”

The unit was eliminated by Mayor Young in 1974, but the stories of those three years are dark and violent.  They included tragedies of unchecked use of excessive force against the city’s African-American community. 

Sterling State Park is one of Michigan's 103 state parks, overseen by park rangers who have filed a request to carry guns and wear protective gear on the job.
user Dwight Burdette / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan State Employees Association filed a complaint with the state on June 29, claiming state park officers should be able to carry guns and wear bulletproof vests on the job.

MSEA president Ken Moore cites an increase in illegal activities — such as drug use and gang violence — in state parks since 2006 as the reason. He says his members feel unsafe on the job.

Law enforcement officials and victims of sexual assault in Michigan could soon be able to track the rape kits used to gather evidence. A state budget amendment would set aside money for training and software that keeps track of where a kit is located at each step of an investigation. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Michigan isn't already using tracking software.

A police officer with his back to the camera.
Sasha Kimel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Police departments across the nation are using new methods to try to predict where crime is likely to happen and who is more likely to be a victim of crime or become a criminal element. Predictive policing is already being used. There are many approaches.

It is not without its critics, for a variety of reasons.

veterans on bikes
Courtesy of Project Peace Peddlers

They served and protected the United States while in the military. Now, as veterans, they’re volunteering to serve and protect Detroit — and they're doing it on bicycles.

Project Peace Peddlers brings together all ages of veterans, from those who served in Vietnam to those who've just returned from Afghanistan. 

Grand Rapids police officer directing traffic.
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

A group of law enforcement professionals is working on recommendations to the governor for improving trust between police and the communities they serve. You have through this weekend to give them your thoughts.

Governor Rick Snyder issued an executive order in October to have the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards produce the report. It will focus on three underlying themes: improving community engagement, training, and recruitment.

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state lawmaker wants to make sure police officers can't use a resignation to hide bad behavior.

Legislation introduced this week would require law enforcement agencies to keep a record of the reasons and circumstances surrounding a resignation.

If a resigning officer applies for a job at another department, the potential employer would be allowed to request a copy of their record.

Incoming sheriffs attend a training session in East Lansing.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

On January 1, 33 new sheriffs will begin their new jobs.

It’s the biggest change at the top of Michigan law enforcement in decades.

Terry Jungel is the executive director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. He can’t remember a time when so many of Michigan’s 83 county sheriffs were new to the job.

“I think it’s a new generation coming in with a new expectation,” says Jungel, who adds that many of the retiring sheriffs had difficulty with public demands for greater transparency, including body cams.

Flickr user Dave Conner/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Business leaders of all kinds have talked about needing more skilled workers in their ranks. But they’re not the only ones. Law enforcement agencies also require more skilled employees.

Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma recently issued a report calling for additional support for community colleges. Those schools are home to most of Michigan’s police academies.

Andy / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Six Republican members of Michigan's Congressional delegation want President Barack Obama to rescind his order requiring state and local law enforcement to return some armored vehicles and grenade launchers to a federal military surplus program. In a letter sent yesterday to the president, the U.S. Reps. said, "Of particular assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies in Michigan is the tracked armored vehicle."  The letter was signed by Reps. Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga, Candice Miller, John Moolenaar, Dave Trott and Fred Upton.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state house committee is expected to vote tomorrow on a bill banning civilians from flying drones over active police investigations.

The state House Criminal Justice committee meets Tuesday morning to discuss HB 4868.  The bill would make it a misdemeanor to fly a drone in a way that interferes with a law enforcement officer, firefighter or utility worker.  If found guilty, the person flying the drone could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  

Sgt. Tim Fitzgerald is with the Michigan State Police.  He says drones could pose a security problem. 

flickr user bobdoran / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve reviewed the movements pushing for marijuana legalization in Michigan, we’ve taken a look at how legal pot has treated Colorado, and we’ve heard the viewpoint of a medical marijuana caregiver in Ann Arbor.

Today, we get the law enforcement perspective.

Cooking Heroin
Wikimedia Commons

Law enforcement in Macomb County and Detroit are working together to crack down on heroin users and dealers.

It's part of what they're calling Operation Smackdown.

Chief James Berlin with the Roseville Police Department says heroin use in southeast Michigan has risen significantly.

Johan Larsson / Creative Commons

The bill, if passed, would require cell phone carriers in Michigan to release location information to police in the event of an emergency.

In short, according to this House Fiscal Agency analysis, the bill does this:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An angry crowd told the Shiawassee County Commission tonight not to lay off more than a dozen sheriff’s deputies.  

But the commission did any way.

Faced with the need to close a $1 million hole in the county budget before the end of the year, Shiawassee County commissioners dropped the ax on the sheriff’s road patrol. The move effectively slices the county sheriff’s staff in half. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A new umbrella group says Michigan’s leaders need to hear their concerns about fairness in law enforcement.

The Coalition for Justice and Fairness to Reform Law Enforcement has come up with a list of priorities it wants state and local officials to address, members announced in Detroit Tuesday.

User: Kelly Herrin / flickr

It’s the kind of service few of us look forward to having the need for – towing services.

And while many are reputable operators, some are known as "wreck chasers" – trolling for business from customers who are stranded in vehicles or at the scene of a car accident.

A new law in Michigan will prohibit tow truck operators from harassing drivers. Legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday will fine tow truck drivers who use aggressive or unethical practices to solicit motorists $1,000. 

gophouse.org

Later this morning a legislative oversight committee will discuss a new secretive cell phone tracking device the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is using.

Not much is known about the device.

It can reportedly trick nearby cell phones into providing data to the police. It can be helpful in tracking people, like missing children and fugitives, but it’s not clear how much more information is collected and what the sheriff’s department does with it.

Dave Trumpie / Capitol Gains

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Local, county and state law enforcement officials say they're stepping up patrols to catch drunken drivers during a period that includes St. Patrick's Day, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments and spring break.

The Michigan State Police said this week that officers from 144 agencies in 26 counties are part of the crackdown that runs through April 7. The effort is coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and receives federal traffic safety funds.

West Midland Police (UK) / Wikimedia Commons

A suburb of Grand Rapids wants  lab results faster than the Michigan State Police Crime Lab provides them.

So the city of Wyoming, Michigan, is setting up its own crime lab to analyze drugs and blood evidence.

The Wyoming City Council recently approved a $100,000 expenditure for the crime lab.

Curtis Holt is Wyoming's city manager. He said court hearings are often postponed because lab results are not back in time.  Among other things, this wastes the time of police officers who are required to be present even though the hearing will be adjourned.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Safety drills in schools are being ignored

Under a proposal in Lansing, schools would be forced to report when and how emergency safety drills are conducted. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, state police officials say too many schools are ignoring laws meant to ensure school safety. The reports would have to be posted on schools’ web sites whenever they conduct a safety drill.

Tracking by cell phone GPS could become a felony

Another piece of legislation in Lansing would make it a felony for police officers to track someone by GPS in their cell phone without a warrant. The US Supreme Court ruled last year that the practice is unconstitutional. Democratic state Representative Jeff Irwin says the legislation is necessary to make sure law enforcement agencies are held accountable for such actions.

Fast food workers protesting in Detroit and Flint

Workers at some fast food chains in Detroit and Flint are expected to walk off the job as part of a protest for higher wages today. They want to be paid fifteen dollars an hour. Michigan’s current minimum wage is $7.40. The strike is expected to affect some McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food restaurants.

user Robertv! / Flickr

Did a law aimed at reducing methamphetamine use in Michigan produce results?

In 2011, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that curbed the amount of pseudoephedrine Michiganders can buy. An active ingredient in some cold and allergy medications, pseudoephedrine is also a critical component to meth production.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers take up drone legislation this week.

The unmanned aircraft have proven effective in war, but some are concerned they may violate the rights of Michiganders.

Unmanned drones offer a new way to see the world. The drones can help police departments keep an eye on criminals, give state agencies a different way to survey state land and even help local school administrators watch students on the playground.

But there is concern that drones could be abused.

Michigan State Police

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Criminal justice agencies across Michigan are getting $1.2 million in federal grants to strengthen anti-drug and crime-fighting efforts.

The funding was announced Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan State Police. The grants come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and are focused on technology enhancements.

Agencies receiving funding have until July 31 to spend the money. A list of awards is posted online.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Ninety new Michigan State troopers will soon be on the road.

The troopers were officially sworn in today in Lansing.

Governor Rick Snyder told the new troopers they are part of reinventing Michigan, in part by helping those communities hit hard by violent crime.

Pages