LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – In the wake of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere, the governor has signed legislation to avoid a similar occurrence in Michigan.
“Ferguson taught us how quickly things get out of control,” explained Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Etue.
The nightly confrontation between the African-American community and the Ferguson police caught the attention of lots of law enforcement agencies.
As a result the governor signed legislation that would mandate that all law enforcement will get mandatory racial sensitivity training.
“That’s our hope,” said Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton. “It’s happening in pockets now but when we’re done with our standards and MCOLES we will make it mandatory that all police officers and recruits come in with the kind of implicit bias but you also need to get cultural competency.”
The governor reports Michigan has avoided these confrontations, but there is the need to do more.
Gov. Snyder’s urban affairs advisor Harvey Hollis explains “we haven’t had an incident big in our state and so watching everything else around the country. We are saying lets ratchet up a notch to make sure that we are dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.” Hollis adds we’ve been fortunate there have been no incidents to this point.
Despite these disturbances, the Michigan State Police director believes the majority of citizens respect the police and she blames, in part, the media for overblowing the racial friction story. “I think so. I think the majority of the citizens do we have issues we have to address to trust factors we have to really start engaging with our community. Absolutely,” says Col. Etue. “But I think overwhelmingly if you take a poll of people still like and respect the role of law enforcement.”
The new mandatory boost in training standards are in the works right now and the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards must produce a report within 120 days.
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