New bill proposes increasing police officer training in Michigan, decreasing excessive force

Posted at 10:02 AM, May 28, 2020

A new bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature aims to reduce excessive use of force by police officers.

Introduced by Sen. Jeff Irwin, Senate Bill 945 would require that all incoming law enforcement officers complete training on implicit bias, de-escalation techniques and mental health screening.

“Unlike most other professionals, police officers have just seconds to make life-altering decisions — often under high-stress conditions — so it’s essential we give them all of the necessary tools to keep residents safe,” Sen Irwin said. “Officers are drilled on tactics, firearms, and forensics. They practice shooting and driving. 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.”

“Our community needs to change the culture that drives a wedge between police and the people they serve,” Sen. Irwin said. “Great police agencies are already training their officers in implicit bias and mental health screening. The Legislature needs to make these best practices in police training the law.”

Some Michigan departments already require some form of de-escalation, cultural competency or implicit bias training. The bill would require that every officer receive such training as part of their initial training and certification.