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police reform

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.  

outside of SCOTUS building
user dbking / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, we discussed how two recent Supreme Court decisions may impact cases in Michigan. Plus, last night, Lansing City Council heard public comments on a proposal to cut police funding in the city by 50 percent over the next several years.

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Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

screenshot of Zoom meeting of Lansing city council
Scott Pohl

The Lansing city council heard more than two hours of public comment during a meeting Monday night over a proposal to cut the city’s police budget in half over five years.

Councilmember Brandon Betz is joined by councilmember Kathie Dunbar in calling for diverting money cut from the police budget to social programs. They argue that would result in the prevention of crime. The proposal is backed by Black Lives Matter Lansing.

Several people spoke against the plan early in public comment, including Tim Brewbaker.

Jelmer Assink / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we’re checking in with the owner of a gym and personal training facility to see how he’s approaching reopening in light of an appeals court decision upholding Governor Whitmer’s order to keep gyms closed to limit the spread of COVID-19 yesterday. Also, a conversation with Jim Toy, who has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights in Michigan for more than five decades.

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Protesters want big police reforms. Michigan lawmakers offer small changes.

Jun 22, 2020
protesters in lansing
Abigail Censky / WKAR

Protests in Michigan cities are still ongoing against racial injustice and police brutality in what is becoming one of the most sustained social movements in memory. After years of police killing African Americans at a disproportionate rate, protesters are calling for revolutionary change.

Brian Jennings stands at the front of a crowd of protesters who marched through Grand Rapids Wednesday.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer set off massive protests across the U.S. At many of those protests, there was a familiar refrain: "Defund the police." It was scrawled across poster boards and chanted by protesters. But what does that actually mean? For some activists in Grand Rapids, it means reopening the city budget to move funding away from police and to other community services. LaDonna Norman, a member of the group Together We Are Safe, is one of those activists.

someone writing on a ballot
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, a researcher at University of Michigan has looked at data surrounding fatalities caused by police, and how those lethal uses of force break along racial and gender lines. And, a conversation with a brother and sister confronting a global pandemic on opposite sides of a prison wall. Plus, a talk with Senator Gary Peters about a bill introduced by House Democrats to combat police misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in policing.

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

teacher standing in front of class with large monitor
Steve Riot / Pixabay

Today on Stateside, one sheriff shares what his department has learned about its own biases and discusses if proposed reforms for police departments are enough. Plus, what's on teachers' minds as they look at plans to reopen schools this fall. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is turning to technology to help reduce response times to calls.

Flint’s new police intelligence center will monitor closed circuit cameras in businesses and other locations around the city. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for data on criminal suspects.

Police Chief Tim Johnson expects the center will help officers get to the scene of crimes faster.

“We’re doing excellent for responding to crimes,” says Johnson. “But, of course it’s not good enough when you’ve got people waiting 20 and 30 minutes for police to respond to a call.”

A 2015 survey found that many police agencies devote significantly more time to firearms training than de-escalation techniques.
Flickr - Oregon Department of Transportation / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When police officers are faced with potentially dangerous situations, the initial reaction is often to draw their weapon. 

That, after all, is what their training suggests they do: A 2015 survey of training curriculum at more than 280 police agencies found that the typical agency devoted 58 hours to firearms training and 49 hours to defensive tactics, compared with 10 to communication and just eight to de-escalation.

This type of training, and the warrior mentality it creates, has been at the root of deadly confrontations between police and the people they're arresting in recent years.