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City Council votes unanimously to establish first independent police oversight commission

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jul 15, 2021

EAST LANSING, Mich. — After months of reviewing and consideration, East Lansing's City Council unanimously passed the establishment of an independent police oversight commission.

"This is one of the most important things we're going to do as a city council," Mayor Aaron Stephens said. "This is the most significant piece of policy that I think we are going to pass."

In May of 2020, the city established a study committee on an independent police oversight commission following two allegations that city police used excessive force in two different arrests.

After seven months of analyzing public records, the committee recommended that the city council form an independent police oversight commission.

This is the first time the police department has had an oversight commission.

"The effort to care and the effort to change is very, very difficult, but it is something that we need to do," Stephens said. "I think this is just a further continuation of that effort."

Now that the commission has been approved by the city council, the next step will be appointing community members to the board. Rules to be part of the board include:

  • No city or police employee can be on the board.
  • The board will have 11 members of differing minorities.
  • Two seats will be allowed for non-East Lansing residents.
  • Board members will serve staggered three-year terms.
  • People on other committees may not serve on the commission at the same time.
  • At least two members must have active licenses in social work or psychology.

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