Governor Gretchen Whitmer is concerned that Michigan’s law enforcement officers (LEO's) aren’t getting the right kind of training. The Governor says she will be fully supporting several initiatives to enhance police training in Michigan to ensure officers are part of a culture. She wants a culture that treats everyone in the state with dignity and respect. In effect, the Governor is saying that right now, law enforcement officers in Michigan are part of the wrong culture.

She is now backing proposed legislation that requires law enforcement training programs that deal with implicit bias, and techniques used to de-escalate confrontations. The Governor says she supports the State Senate, which is debating legislation sponsored by Washtenaw County Democrat Jeff Irwin. His Senate Bill 945 was just introduced. It covers a wide range of proposed new training requirements and licensing hurdles for new and current Michigan police officers. Many requirements deal with racial equality and implicit bias training.

Another element of the Governor’s law enforcement training reform changes is to require officers to intervene if they believe a fellow officer is abusing a citizen through excessive force. The Governor says that may well save lives and help keep Michigan residents safe. Governor Whitmer claims the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis during an arrest last week is the result of hundreds of years of inequity and institutional racism against Black Americans.

Michigan  Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist is joining the effort. Gilchrist says current systems in place in Michigan have left Black, Latino, and other communities of color feeling underserved and even threatened by law enforcement. Michigan State Police Director. Colonel Joe Gasper is also adding some weight to the call for enhanced law enforcement officer training. Gasper says, “…we cannot stand on the outside looking in.” Col. Gasper says the State Police Department has already moved to increase training for troopers in line with the Governor's racial equality goals.

The Governor’s announcement was made shortly before a virtual town hall took place involving former President Barak Obama, his former Attorney General, Eric Holder, and others who want to turn the nationwide protests into policy.

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