For the undocumented aging, medical care is challenging

Capital News Service
LANSING — Luis Valencia said he came to Detroit from Mexico 10 years ago with his mother and brothers to escape drug dealers. He had drawn the ire of a drug cartel because of his reporting on their activities, said Valencia, a journalist. Today, his mother has severe diabetes and may soon require expensive dialysis, he said. But that’s not an option because of his family’s undocumented status. Doctors have advised him to return his mother to Mexico to receive treatment they can better afford, he said.

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LANSING — Lack of training funds and outdated cultures in smaller departments are among the factors interfering with improved police-community relations in Michigan, state officials say.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.

State groups strengthen police, community ties

Capital News Service
LANSING — As communities across the country confront mistrust between police and citizens, organizations across Michigan are working to build relationships that officials hope can avoid unrest when something goes wrong. For two decades, parts of the state have formed trust-building initiatives to ensure lines of communication are open to address incidents such as police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, or North Charleston, South Carolina. “It’s very important that these relationships are being built and maintained, because it’s very challenging to build a relationship in the midst of a crisis,” said Patrick Miles Jr., a U.S. attorney who serves as co-chair on the Grand Rapids Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust. “It can be detrimental if no relationship is there.”

The group, one of five so-called ALPACTs across Michigan, includes law enforcement officials, prosecutors, local government officials, faith-based leaders, advocacy groups and individuals from the local community. Other regions with ALPACTs are Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and Benton Harbor.