LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Michigan State Police (MSP) have concluded a year-long study that found that there are racial disparities in the frequency and results of traffic stops performed by soldiers.
In September 2020, analysis of internal MSP data revealed potential racial disparities. Leadership then commissioned an independent study at Michigan State University that mapped out several aspects of law enforcement, including things like how easily it was at a traffic stop to see who was driving. The study found that across Michigan and most districts in the MSP, African Americans were notably more likely to be involved in a traffic stop than their representation in the population would suggest.
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The report also found that African American and Hispanic drivers were more likely than white drivers to be searched or pulled over after traffic stops. Conversely, Asian drivers were significantly less likely to be searched or stopped compared to white drivers, but they were more likely to receive a citation.
MSP director Col. Joe Gasper announced the results on Wednesday, along with what they plan to do about it. The plan has five points.
According to Gasper, the ministry:
- Hired an independent consulting firm to review MSP policies with a view to making recommendations for systemic changes that will address racial disparities.
- Launched a state-wide listening and engagement effort, in partnership with the Bridges to BLUE Citizen Advisory Council, in which MSP leaders will engage in an open and honest conversation with leaders communities of color, bringing out problems and finding solutions together.
- Make more data available to MSP soldiers through a dashboard that will provide real-time traffic stop data so they can learn more and adjust their actions.
- Increase training opportunities for soldiers and recruits through the establishment of the Department’s Professional Development Office. This new office will provide training and development to law enforcement members on familiar topics, as well as new and emerging topics including mental health, wellness, de-escalation, cultural competence, decision making, implicit biases and communication skills.
- Issuance of body-worn cameras to all members of the app who may have contact with Michigan residents and visitors.
” Collar. Gasper’s commitment to respond to these findings is also a commitment to lead by example, ”Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “All law enforcement agencies should be willing to review their practices with the aim of improving their relationships with the people they serve – effective public service cannot be achieved without constructive reflection. I appreciate the courageous members of our law enforcement community and know that today’s announcement will lead to positive change. “
Entitled “Michigan State Police Traffic Stop External Benchmarking: A Final Report on Racial and Ethnic Disparities,” the report was written by Dr. Scott Wolfe, Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, with the MSU School of Criminal Justice. doctoral students Travis Carter and Jedidiah Knode. It presents the results of their external benchmarking of Michigan State Police traffic stops in 2020.
“The Michiganers deserve impartial policing, transparency and accountability from their state policing, and that’s what they’re going to get,” Gasper said. “To be clear, this report is not a commentary on the integrity of individual soldiers, who are firmly committed to serving everyone with dignity and respect. But this independent study found clear and consistent evidence that racial and ethnic disparities exist in Michigan State Police traffic stops, and we need to change that. “
The ministry has posted the summary and full report on its transparency and accountability webpage. WILX News 10 has included a copy of the full report at the bottom of this article.
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