The Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement in support of SB 945, a bill that would require all law enforcement officers be trained in de-escalation techniques, implicit bias, procedural justice, and mental health resources available to law enforcement officers:
“We are long overdue for changes to our laws to address the systemic inequities that have subjected Black Michiganders to higher rates of gun violence and police violence,” said Emily Durbin, volunteer with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill is an important step in a long process toward creating safer and more equitable communities for everyone.”
The introduction of SB 945 comes in response to widespread protests in Michigan and across the country following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Black people in the United States are far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and 123 people have been fatally shot by police between 2013 and 2019 in Michigan.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings, including provisions in SB945. In addition to the new training requirements for law enforcement officers, SB 945 would also require all law enforcement organizations in the state to adopt explicit and written de-escalation policies.
Michigan lawmakers can also invest in community-based violence intervention programs that have been effective at ending the cycle of violence and fostering trust in the community by using evidence-informed approaches tailored to their communities to put a stop to violence and save lives.