Cops, court officials offer tips on reacting to stops

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Getting stopped by the police can be a frustrating and scary experience.

Local court officials and police hope to change that by taking the fear out of police stops. The “What To Do When Stopped By The Police” workshop this weekend will offer hints and tips for motorists and others.

The SAFE (Serious Advice For Effective Encounters) Project is hosting the event at 1 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward.

Across the country, some police stops or encounters have ended with deadly consequences involving civilians, mostly African-Americans. According to an analysis published by the Washington Post, more than 900 people were killed by the police in cities across the country last year.

Wayne Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow, who will take part in the Saturday event, said workshops have “become more crucial” for police and the public.

“The knowledge and information provides a different kind of result of the encounters,” Morrow said. “If we can change the interaction between police officers and citizens then we can change the outcome so there’s not a death before we got into the encounter.”

Morrow said he is hoping to save lives because “black people’s lives are being taken by the police period.”

Chief Wayne Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. said the program is an important one.

“We’ve seen or heard of police abusing citizens, particularly black people, but until they got cellphone video (technology), a lot of people didn’t believe it,” Colombo said.

Colombo noted Detroit police will soon be wearing body cameras, which experts said have helped in driving down the number of incidents involving extreme force by officers.

Colombo said the free workshop will educate the public on how to respond to police.

“Rolling your window down, putting your hands on the steering wheel, having your license, registration and proof of insurance ready,” is critical, he said.

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