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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
Michigan has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. At the local level, Lansing's police department ended the use of no-knock warrants on July 15th, 2020. SB 1016, introduced in July 2020, aimed to ban no-knock warrants across Michigan, but it died in committee.
Michigan has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.
Military style training
Michigan has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage.
Michigan has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use. A 2013 bill to require this reporting stalled in the Michigan House of Representatives.
Civil asset forfeiture
In 2019, the Michigan Legislature passed a bill with bipartisan support to limit civil asset forfeiture to those convicted of crimes or for possessions exceeding a value of $50,000 (excluding contraband).
It's illegal for municipal police officers to to have quotas for traffic tickets. However, the Michigan State Police do have quotas for traffic stops.
Cost of misconduct
Michigan has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state/city general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.
SB 1046, signed into law in 2021, expands officer discretion to issue citations for most misdemeanors, and presumes citations in lieu of arrests. Similarly, the collective package of HB 5854, HB 5855, HB 5856, HB 5857, and HB 5844 eliminate mandatory minimum jail sentences in the Motor Vehicle, School, Railroad, and Public Health Codes. Another package of legislation also signed into law in January eliminates license suspension for violations of the law unrelated to dangerous driving. Furthermore HB 5853 reclassifies traffic misdemeanors, like driving a vehicle without an exhaust muffler, as civil infractions. In 2019, the third most common reason for a Michigan resident's imprisonment was lack of a valid license.
Objective justification for stops
Michigan has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).
Reporting stop details
Michigan has not yet enacted a law requiring comprehensive reporting of police stops (noting location, race, gender, whether force was used and whether a firearm was found).
Pending Legislation: Part 5 of the Michigan Attorney General proposal for Police Reform mandates comprehensive reporting, but this is just a proposal for reform and not yet a law.
Reckless civil rights violation
Michigan has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.
Michigan has not yet enacted a law instituting an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct.
Pending Legislation: Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has proposed reforms to policing in Michigan, including an independent prosecutor for misconduct. She has called on the legislature to adopt these reforms, but no legislation has been introduced.
Michigan has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
Michigan has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). In 2008, the state allocated funding for MCOLES, Michigan's police training standards division, to train law enforcement officers in issues of mental health. Though the state created a policy guide for mental health responses in 2017, Michigan has yet to institutionalize the inclusion of trained professionals in mental health crisis situations.
SB. 1162, introduced in October 2020, would have created the Office of Social Work and Police Partnerships within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The office would have created and overseen "an advisory council and grant program to social service and law enforcement agencies to hire social workers, licensed practical counselors, or psychologists to respond to crises ¾ connecting residents with mental health, substance abuse, housing, and other services. The office would also ensure cross-training between law enforcement officers and social workers and evaluate the programs." The bill died in committee.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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