Culture, lack of training impede police-community trust, officials say

Capital News Service
LANSING — Lack of training funds and outdated cultures in smaller departments are among the factors interfering with improved police-community relations in Michigan, state officials say. Michigan is turning out better police recruits than ever, but many are moving into departments that are still ruled by old-fashioned cultures, said Matt Wesaw, executive director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “We’re training today the best police officer that we’ve ever trained,” said Wesaw, a retired State Police trooper. “I don’t care what academy you go to, we are training the best police officers.”

New police officers typically receive training on how to interact with people of different cultures and counteract their own unconscious biases, Wesaw said. Michigan police officers must complete nearly 600 hours of training, and state troopers need 1,000 hours, said Michigan State Police Public Affairs Director Shanon Banner.