LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) – Michigan State Police are working to reduce racial disparities in traffic stops statewide.
On Wednesday, the law enforcement agency held a virtual press conference in conjunction with the Bridges to BLUE Citizen Advisory Council and the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice to review a 2021 study from the MSU School of Criminal Justice which analyzed the racial and ethnic origins of the drivers. that MSP soldiers arrested in 2020.
Compared to 2020 U.S. Census estimates of Michigan’s black population, the results show that black Michigan residents are more likely to be stopped by MSP than white residents.
Detroit NCAAP Chairman Rev. Wendell Anthony praises MSP for its transparency, saying law enforcement agencies like MSP should welcome solutions that improve police-community relations. “It’s very important that the Michigan State Police, any police department, be transparent and open to scrutiny and solutions,” Anthony said. “I want to recognize [Michigan State Police Director] Colonel Gasper for that.
“On behalf of the entire department, I pledge to act immediately to identify and implement solutions,” Michigan State Police Superintendent Col. Joe Gasper said. “The people of Michigan deserve unbiased policing. »
As part of a five-point action plan to address this issue, MSP plans to: hire an independent consultancy to review its policies and recommend systematic changes that address racial disparities; create a statewide listening and engagement effort with Bridges to BLUE to form an open dialogue with communities of color; provide real-time traffic stop data to MSP soldiers to help them adjust their actions accordingly; creating educational opportunities to teach soldiers about mental health, wellness, de-escalation, cultural competence, decision-making, implicit biases, and communication skills; and issue 1,600 body cameras for soldiers to wear by the end of 2022.
The MSP plans to continue collecting data on the problem to better understand its causes.
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