House Representative Stephanie Chang has introduced a new bill into the Michigan Legislature that would require the state to do a better job of tracking officer involved shootings. The Use of Force by Law Enforcement Reporting Act is a bill that Rep. Chang has been pushing for for several years. However now, in the midst of the social media storm about NFL players and others “taking a knee” in protest of police shootings of innocent and unarmed civilians, she says it is needed more than ever.
As Chang described in her opinion piece, published in the Detroit Free Press, “House Bill 4827 would require police departments to submit an annual report to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) with the number and type of certain use-of-force complaints made against officers of that department, the number of officer-involved shootings in that department, the results of any investigations of those incidents, and the racial, ethnic and gender demographics of those involved.”
The reason behind this, Chang explains, is the need for transparency in our law enforcement agencies. Increased transparency and accountability will translate, Chang insists, into a stronger relationship between officers and civilians, which is something we could all use a little more of right now. Current relationships between law enforcement agencies, here in Michigan and all over the US, are strained at best. The reason being the highly publicized cases in which officers overstepped the boundaries of their badges and in some cases, abused their authority.
Is use of force really necessary in today’s police practices?
As the National Institute of Justice explains, “The use of force by law enforcement officers becomes necessary and is permitted under specific circumstances, such as in self-defense or in defense of another individual or group.” However, while there are many situations where the use of force makes sense, and is completely justified, there are a frightening number of instances where it isn’t. Instances that seem to be on the rise, both her in Michigan and across the nation. Instances where rights are violated and in some cases, lives are lost.
“There is increasing attention across the country on race and our criminal justice system.” Chang states in her opinion piece. “Having more easily accessible public information about shooting incidents and the use of force would help community members, law enforcement stakeholders and policymakers better understand any police conduct issues that need to be addressed locally and across the state and help us tackle these problems.” She goes on to explain that “Community relations can only improve safety for both the officers on the streets, and the residents they are sworn to protect.”
Here at The Kronzek Firm we have encountered both sides of the coin. Hard working and honest police officers who want nothing more than to keep their communities safe, and corrupt cops who are in it for the power and profit. Unfortunately, the bad cops, who are by far the smaller percentage of officers, tend to get a lot of press, which makes the remaining good officers look bad as well.
We will be keeping an eye on this piece of legislation, and will keep you updated if there are any developments. Until then, if you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Michigan, or had your case mishandled by a bad cop, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys have spent decades defending the rights and futures of the people of Michigan. We can defend you and your loved ones as well.