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Michigan State Police acknowledges racial disparity in traffic stops based on data from Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice study

The law enforcement agency is pledging to gather more data on the issue; has a five-point plan of action to address the issue.
Michigan State Police trooper performs a traffic stop in Chocolay Township, Mich.
Michigan State Police trooper performs a traffic stop in Chocolay Township, Mich.(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:26 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan State Police is seeking to decrease racial disparity in traffic stops statewide.

Wednesday, the law enforcement agency held a virtual press conference in conjunction with the Bridges to B.L.U.E. Citizen Advisory Council and the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice to review a 2021 MSU School of Criminal Justice study which analyzed the racial and ethnic backgrounds of the drivers that MSP troopers stopped in 2020.

When compared to 2020 U.S. Census estimates of the Black population in Michigan, results show that Black Michigan residents are more likely to get pulled over by the MSP than white residents.

Detroit NCAAP President Rev. Wendell Anthony commends the MSP for its transparency, saying law enforcement agencies like MSP should welcome solutions that improve police-community relationships. “It’s very important for the Michigan State Police, any police department, to be transparent and to open itself up for scrutiny and for solutions,” Anthony said. “I want to recognize [Michigan State Police Director] Col. Gasper for that.”

“On behalf of the entire department, I pledge immediate action to identify and enact solutions,” Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper said. “Michiganders deserve unbiased policing.”

As part of a five-point plan of action to address this issue, the MSP plans to: hire an independent consulting firm to review its policies and recommend systematic changes addressing racial disparities; create a statewide listening and engagement effort with Bridges to B.L.U.E. to form an open dialogue with communities of color; provide real-time traffic stop data to MSP troopers to help them adjust their actions accordingly; create educational opportunities to teach troopers mental health, wellness, de-escalation, cultural competency, decision-making, implicit bias, and communication skills; and issue 1,600 body cameras for troopers to wear by the end of 2022.

The MSP plans to keep gathering data on the issue to better understand its causes.

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