Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office announces new role, police reform, oversight changes

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – A policing compliance commission and police reform discussions were among numerous changes announced Wednesday morning by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. 

The changes include the creation of the 21st Century Policing Compliance Commission and the Police Reform Academy, adding members to police hiring committees and hiring a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to lead the WCSO in ensuring diversity and inclusivity.

“At the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, we recognize that success comes from a desire to be better every day. And for us to continue to be better, we must be willing to listen, learn and evolve as an organization. We are committed to being better every day,” said Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton in a video.

Here’s a look at the changes:

21st Century Policing Compliance Commission

The commission is a community-based effort between Washtenaw County community members, staff at the Sheriff’s Office, community leaders and faith-based leaders, nonprofit stakeholders, community mental health partners and public health partners. 

It will work collaboratively with WCSO to evaluate, provide input and give feedback on outcomes related to WSCO policies, training, practices and hiring. The commission will ensure the WSCO is compliant with and fully implements six topic areas recommended by a Task Force created in 2014 by President Barack Obama. The topic areas include building trust, policy and oversight, community policing and crime reduction, training and officer wellness.

Those interested in applying for the commission can do so here. 

Police Reform Academy

WCSO is partnering with Washtenaw County My Brother’s Keeper to facilitate an immersive learning series with the goal of sharing knowledge and deconstructing topics of police reform including use of force, police culture, leadership and discipline.

The learning series is open to the public but class sizes are limited to 30 people per class per session. Sessions will vary depending on the number of community members interested. 

“Whether you believe the police should be defunded, deconstructed, abolished or reformed -- doesn’t matter for your participation within PRA. You are very welcome to participate. What does matter is that you are committed to learning in order to best facilitate the change you’d like to see,” said Clayton in a video.

He added that Black men and elected officials are two groups that have been specifically chosen as part of a larger PRA construct. Information from those groups will be integrated into all future sessions.

Those interested in the PRA can sign up here.

  Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our email newsletter here!

WCSO Hiring Committee

To better its organization, WCSO is adding community members to the selection processes for hiring new employees. 

“We are looking for a diverse group of Washtenaw Country residents representing a cross-section of Washtenaw County communities interested in serving as a panelist for new hire candidate interviews,” Clayton said via video.

Residents interested in serving on the hiring committee will complete a short application, pass an abbreviated background check and complete an interviewer training session.

Applications for the WCSO Hiring Committee can be found at here. 

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

A new role at WCSO, the director will work to will provide leadership and develop organizational policies, internal procedures and training curricula, among other responsibilities.  The Director of DEI will work with staff, stakeholders, community partners, administration, and division leadership to further the organization’s mission and develop a strategy to make WCSO more diverse, inclusive and equitable.

The search for candidates will begin within in the new two months. 

Learn more about the position here.

Find all of the changes at local.nixle.com/alert/8116364/.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.