Whitmer plans to add more community members to policing standards board

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday added four seats to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to expand community input and civil rights oversight on the board. 

The executive order will allow Whitmer to appoint three community members and the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to the board as the state moves toward more police reforms in the wake of police brutality protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

“While there is more to do, this is a pivotal time," Whitmer said in a statement. "I look forward to working with law enforcement, the community and with everyone else who wants to build a more just, equitable state for all Michiganders.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The commission sets profession standards in police education, licensing, employment, selection and funding. The current 19-member panel includes one member of the public and 18 others associated with policing, criminal defense and prosecution. 

State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper also supported the additions to the commission. 

“The insight of these new members will provide a necessary outside perspective and also serve to add another layer of transparency and accountability to policing in Michigan," Gasper said.

The addition of four seats to the commission comes more than a week after the Democratic governor urged police agencies to adopt policies requiring officers to intervene if they witness excessive force being used by their colleagues. She also has supported better mental health screenings for officers as well as training in implicit bias and de-escalation. 

The Michigan Senate approved legislation a day later requiring police officers to go through implicit bias and de-escalation training.