MEA supports Senate bill improving police training on race issues and more

UPDATE: The State Senate passed SB 945 unanimously on Thursday, June 4. The bill now heads to the State House for their consideration.

A bill to require incoming law enforcement officers to receive training on implicit bias, de-escalation techniques, and mental health screening has been introduced in the Michigan Legislature. MEA is supporting this legislation and urges members to contact lawmakers to adopt it.

Senate Bill 945 aims to strengthen community-police relations and reduce excessive use of force by police officers. It was introduced last week by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) in the wake of public outrage over the brutal killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man, at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis.

“Officers are drilled on tactics, firearms, and forensics; they practice shooting and driving,” Irwin said. “What is missing from our fundamental police training standards are how officers can identify mental illness or their own implicit biases and use that knowledge to de-escalate a dangerous situation.”

Earlier today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for the Legislature to pass the bill and, in the meantime, asked for police departments to begin adopting the elements called for in the bill in advance of any legislative action.

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