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Michigan Gov. Whitmer proposes 4-pronged police reform plan: What it includes

Protests continue across the U.S.

Protests in Detroit. (WDIV)
Protests in Detroit. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a plan to reform policing in the state amid ongoing protests against police brutality in the state and across the country.

The governor’s office says the four-pronged plan was developed in partnership with community leaders and law enforcement organizations.

The Whitmer administration says it will support legislation on the following actions:

On policy:

  • Ban chokeholds/windpipe blockage.  
  • Further limit the use of no-knock warrants.  
  • Require "duty to intervene" policies.  
  • Classify false, racially-motivated 911 calls as a hate crime.   
  • Require in-service training for all licensed law enforcement officers to maintain licensure.    
  • Authorize MCOLES (Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards) to do the following:  
    • Audit law enforcement agencies to ensure they are accurately reporting violations of law or improper use of force.  
    • Establish penalties for agencies who don’t comply with reporting.   
  • Direct the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Diversion Council to make recommendations on best practices and training for police departments when responding to situations involving persons with mental illnesses.  

On personnel:

  • Provide incentive programs for law enforcement agencies to hire/retain officers who live where they work.  
  • Require retention of disciplinary records resulting from violations of law or improper use of force.  

On partnership/community engagement:

  • Invest in programming in communities around the state that connect local police and community leaders to build relationships.  
  • Invest in expanding existing community relationship programs to break down barriers between police and communities around the state. 

On prevention and accountability:

  • Require independent investigations of all shootings and use of force that resulted in the death of unarmed civilians at the hands of law enforcement.  

“All Michiganders, no matter their community or the color of their skin, deserve equal treatment under the law,” Governor Whitmer said. “This proposal will help us ensure that law enforcement officials treat all Michiganders with humanity and respect, and will help us keep our communities safe. I will continue working with leaders in law enforcement to make public safety more just and equitable in Michigan.”  

“People across Michigan have been calling for changes to police practices, and these actions are clear steps in the direction of needed reform,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “These reforms will help us build a more just and equitable law enforcement system and ensure the safety of Black Michiganders across the state.”

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Over the last several weeks, the governor added four seats to The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), including the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, to bring more community voices to the table as the commission considers police reforms for our state. The governor also requested that MCOLES provide guidance to law enforcement agencies on continuing education that will help officers keep up with the ever-changing landscape of new laws and issues facing the community, including diversity and implicit bias training.   

Additionally, the governor has encouraged police departments to participate in efforts that are underway on comprehensive reporting on the use of force by police departments and urged law enforcement agencies to implement duty to intervene policies.  


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