Victory, Chang announce bipartisan police improvement measures

LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Roger Victory and Stephanie Chang, the chair and minority vice chair of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, on Tuesday announced a bipartisan legislative package to improve police accountability and transparency in Michigan.

“As our nation marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we are coming together here in Michigan to address police accountability and transparency, especially regarding use of force. We continue to mourn the tragic deaths of Floyd and countless others across the country and know that many Americans still feel pain and anger,” said Chang, D-Detroit. “Change in our justice system is overdue, and this bipartisan package is the result of months of work to develop practical solutions to improve policing and public safety in our communities.”

The 12-bill package covers a wide variety of law enforcement issues, such as Use of Force, no-knock warrants, investigations, de-escalation training and recruitment and retention of officers.

“This is an opportunity for us to unite to protect all Michiganders with proactive measures that will put in place the best practices from law enforcement agencies across our state,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “Since taking over as Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee chair in January, I have had many positive and constructive discussions on what we need to do, and I want to thank our law enforcement community for their engagement and feedback. I believe we all have the shared goals of improving policing, community interactions and public perceptions while supporting the many courageous police officers who keep our families safe.”

Senate Bill 473, sponsored by Victory, would require the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) to develop guidelines for independent investigations of officer-involved deaths and require each agency to develop a publicly available policy that meets those guidelines. SB 481, sponsored by Chang, would require Use of Force policies for all police agencies to include a use of force continuum, verbal warning, and exhaustion of alternatives before using deadly force.

The other bills in the package include:
• SB 474, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, to require Use of Force violations to be included in separation records maintained by MCOLES.
• SB 475, sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, to allow MCOLES to revoke the license of an officer who used excessive force causing death or serious bodily harm.
• SB 476, sponsored by Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, to ban the intentional disclosure of the identity of a person who made a misconduct complaint against a law enforcement officer.
• SB 477, sponsored by Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, to exempt a police union from representing a member in a disciplinary action if it is determined by the union that the grievance is without merit.
• SB 478, sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, to ban the use of the chokehold as a restraint method except to save a life.
• SB 479, sponsored by Sen. Erika Geiss, D-Taylor, to ban the use of “no-knock” warrants except in certain circumstances and better define “knock and enter” warrants.
• SB 480, sponsored by Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, to establish an affirmative duty to intervene to prevent the excessive use of force by another officer and allow for disciplinary action for those who fail to do so.
• SB 482, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, to require training standards regarding de-escalation, implicit bias, and behavioral health be developed by MCOLES and require continuing education for law enforcement officers.
• SB 483, sponsored by Sen. Michael D. MacDonald, R-Macomb Township, to direct MCOLES to commission a study on the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers to discover barriers to attracting and retaining high quality individuals.
• SB 484, sponsored by Sen. Marshall Bullock, D-Detroit, to specifically include tampering with body cameras or intentionally turning off the camera for the purpose of interfering with an investigation or proceeding in the crime of tampering with evidence.

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