Key Focus Area 5:
Ensure equity in Law Enforcement and Public Safety
Ensure Equity in Public Safety
Where we are
The Public Safety Department has made a concerted turn toward diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI-related training is embedded in the culture, and officers are trained in unconscious bias, de-escalation, intervention techniques and crisis intervention, as well as a specialized training called "Slavery's Legacy in Law Enforcement."
Five areas of focus
In addition, the college's chief diversity officer is now included in all hiring committees for full-time Public Safety employees. She serves as an inclusion advocate to be sure the hiring committee is carefully considering all factors and examining their own unconscious biases when choosing candidates. The chief diversity officer also holds regular Quality Improvement Plan meetings with department leadership to examine recruiting, retention and management. As a result of these efforts, the Public Safety Department has seen marked growth in its own inclusionary and equity practices including diversifying its workforce to move closely reflect the racial, ethnic and gender background of the student body it serves.
Beyond hiring and training, LCC has instituted some basic prohibitions to prevent excessive use of force. First, LCC Public Safety have general orders that prohibit profiling. Second, all officers are required to intervene if they see excessive force being used. General orders, of course, do not on their own prevent violence, but they do formalize an expectation, prompt officers to think more critically about their actions, and create a mechanism for reviewing officer conduct.
One of the most basic requirements in measuring our Public Safety Department's respect for the public is preventing the unnecessary use of force that is all too common in our nation. From 2017 through mid-2020, LCC's officers engaged in 13,073 recordable interactions with the community. Forty-seven percent were service calls, which is a core function of any responsive police force. Another 22% were traffic stops. Only 4% of calls resulted in an arrest. Of those arrests – a little more than 500 total – only three resulted in a use of force for resisting arrest, and none of those uses of force ended in an injury to either the community member or officer.
In addition, there were zero complaints filed against Public Safety for use of force in any of those 13,073 interactions.
We will continue to track Public Safety's interactions with the community, as well as training hours and department demographics to push us along a respectful community policing model.
Where we are going
We are encouraged by the leadership the Public Safety Department has already shown toward diversifying its ranks and training all its employees. We want to build on that progress by intensifying our focus on recruiting and retaining a diverse and talented workforce, as well as enhancing their DEI training. Further, we want our student cadets and novice officers to learn from the experience of our seasoned officers. Therefore, we will create a formal mentoring program to pass on the training and hands-on knowledge already contained within our force.
A critical factor in the success of any police department is creating a communication pathway and a rapport between the police and the community they serve. We hope to establish a robust DEI reporting process with the explicit goal of increasing transparency and building trust. We want our Public Safety Department to be known as a stellar example of culturally responsive community policing. Targeted DEI efforts planned to enhance Public Safety's engagement with the community will include but not limited to:
- Anti-racism Campaign – In partnership with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, create anti-racism campaign entitled "We're better than THAT." This effort will entail a list of pledges, engagement activities and policy changes being enacted within the department. While not all efforts will be completed within a year, they are meant to be the start of a comprehensive plan to demonstrate commitment, transparency and accountability to community policing pursued beyond this action plan.
- Public Policies/Marketing – The department will place its policies for example (Use of Force, required DEI and Bias Trainings, Complaint Processing, and other policing processes) on the department website so that the public can be informed. The department will also enhance its brand and marketing presence.
- Department Accreditation – The department will seek accreditation to hold itself accountable to recognized professional standards.
- Racial Profiling and Data Collection – The department will establish a process for measuring DEI metrics to ensure its methods and procedures are incorporated into the standards and general orders that prevent racial discrimination and support equity polices.
In Law Enforcement Training at Mid-Michigan Police Academy (MMPA)
Where we are
Today, the Mid-Michigan Police Academy spends more time featuring diversity, equity and inclusion training activities to ensure the state's newest officers are well-versed in cultures, backgrounds and needs that are not their own. Beyond the MCOLES requirements, students at the Mid-Michigan Police Academy spend more than 100 hours of additional training dealing with interpersonal skills, including:
- Fair and Impartial Policing
- Verbal Defense and Influence
- LGBTQIA+ Training for Law Enforcement Officers
- Islam 101
- Autism Awareness
- Responding to Trauma, and
- Officer Self-Care
These trainings are in addition to training required by the State of Michigan in the following areas:
- Ethics in Policing
- Domestic Violence
- Prisoner Care & Treatment
- Cultural Awareness & Diversity
The academy also provides MILO Range firearms training simulations into the curriculum. MILO is an internationally respected, emotionally immersive method for training government, military and law enforcement in appropriate use of force and tactical judgement. It uses high-definition video scenarios to create a role-playing type scenario, with branching decision trees that allow a candidate to see the end results of their choices to use force or de-escalate.
In addition, applicants to the academy are now required to have an associate degree or 37 semester credits, and the curriculum includes criminal justice.
LCC will continue to track the number of hours spent training academy students in critical skills to reduce unconscious bias and support diversity, equity and inclusion in their careers. We are proud that our expectations for our students already exceed those set out by MCOLES, and we intend to continue to make our academy a leader in advanced, DEI-focused training. While we know training is only the first step in creating more just police forces around the state, it is a critical step that we as an institution are able to shape.
Where we are going
The Mid-Michigan Police Academy does not have open admission, unlike most of LCC. Instead, the academy has some ability to select its students. The college intends to enhance its student recruiting and retention strategies as well as review the academy application, interview and selection process to ensure we start each new class with dedicated, equity-minded candidates. It is a privilege to protect and serve, and we want to be sure we select candidates who can live up to the ideals of community policing.
Further, we plan to enhance the curriculum to include more situational scenarios and de-escalation techniques to give students plenty of opportunity to review and reconsider their automatic response to difficult situations. Students will engage in an online implicit bias test to better understand their own unconscious biases. In addition, students will be forced to confront how officers are viewed and often distrusted in communities of color.
Additionally, the academy hopes to strengthen its community relationship and help future officers to understand their role as part of a community by engaging with the Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust (ALPACT). The academy will bring in the bridge-building organization to host open and honest discussions about the relationship between police and communities of color.