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Official Statement: State Police Support for Police Reform; Statement by Col. Joe Gasper, Director, Michigan State Police

June 16, 2020

The Michigan State Police is committed to working on several fronts with all stakeholders to achieve police reform in Michigan. The reforms announced today by Attorney General Dana Nessel are another positive step toward increasing accountability and transparency in policing and they merit further discussion and review by stakeholders.

These measures, along with Senate Bill 945 that would require law enforcement officers to complete training on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques, as well as Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s effort to encourage police agencies to adopt policies that require officers to intervene when they observe an excessive use of force by another officer, are all positive measures that will improve policing outcomes in our state.

I also fully support and welcome the addition of the Michigan Civil Rights Director and three civilian members to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, which will give our citizens a voice in setting training and licensing standards and will provide this important commission with a needed outside perspective.

It’s important to acknowledge that true reform requires careful consideration from all involved parties, as well as a commitment to funding in order to meet the stated objectives. I offer my full commitment, and that of my agency, in working alongside all who are interested in improving policing in Michigan.

The role and responsibility of police officers in our society is a great one; one in which our authority is derived from the trust and support of the people we serve, which means we need to be responsive and accountable, willing to listen and take action for the betterment of all.