ELPD implements new impartial policing policy to combat bias
A new policy spearheaded by the East Lansing Police Department aims to accomplish a new goal: To minimize biased police work.
In the waning gasps of 2017, ELPD implemented a new fair and impartial policing procedure.
“Basically, (it’s) just to affirm our commitment to our community and policing in a fair and impartial nature,” ELPD Lt. Chad Connelly said. “Whether it be for people from a different country, people of different ethnicities, religion, whatever it may be. Just to show that we truly are committed to our community and that we approach policing in a truly fair and level playing field.”
ELPD partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, to create the policy, Vice Chair of Lansing ACLU Derrell Slaughter said.
“The process of coming up with this policy was a really collaborative effort,” Slaughter said. “I think East Lansing Police should be really commended for really wanting to work with the community to develop a policy like this.”
The policy requires all ELPD employees to treat “all individuals in a fair, impartial, equitable and objective manner.”
The policy also explains how ELPD will interact with federal agencies, such as the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
“A lot of the stuff going on with immigration, it also addresses some of that,” Connelly said. “Just to let people know, basically, where we stand and the way that we’re going to approach doing the job of law enforcement.”
Unless there is a valid judiciary warrant, ELPD will not detain an individual, Connelly said.
Thus, it ensures ELPD is not doing ICE’s job, Slaughter said, limiting any communication mishaps.
The policy requires an annual review of the department’s practices including concerns brought to the department, accusations of racial profiling and complaints about employees.
Supervisors are expected to enforce the policy and take corrective action when employees don’t follow it.
“I think it’s just a step in the right direction to letting our community know where we stand and let people know when we’re out there doing our job, we’re trying to do it in the best nature possible,” Connelly said. “It also gives a little education to the way that we should be going about our jobs.”
Officers receive as much training as the department can afford.
Key areas like anti-bias and de-escalation are emphasized, Connelly said.
“We’ve really pushed hard to make sure our officers are up-to-date on all the trainings that are out there,” Connelly said. “Especially when it comes to some of the matters that have really been out there in the forefront of the media, such as relations with different cultures or relations with people of different ethnicities.”
The new policy and training is important, because it helps create better interactions between the East Lansing community and police, Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann said.
“I think we need to do whatever we can to make sure that the police are seen as part of the solution and not part of the problem,” Altmann said. “I think that ELPD has a lot of respect in the community, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t concerns that we can address.”