Lansing Lawmakers Push For Bill To Expand Police Officer Training, Mental Health Screenings

Irwin: "There is a stigma to seeking mental health help (for police officers)"

WWJ News
June 04, 2020 - 4:38 pm

    (WWJ) A bill that would require Michigan police officers to undergo more training elements has passed unanimously in the State Senate.

    The new law would require cops to undergo implicit bias and procedural justice training; violence de-escalation techniques, and mental health screening.

    State Senator, Jeff Irwin, of Ann Arbor was one of the bill’s sponsors. He said asking for help is often a big challenge for police officers.

    “We all know that officers have a very difficult and stressful job…” Irwin told WWJ. “There is a stigma to seeking mental health treatment. For these officers that are facing difficult, life-changing, heart-wrenching decisions on a far too frequent basis; they need to know they can seek help, and that help is available to them.”

    Those who are opposed to the bill worry about how police departments will pay for the new training elements, especially in smaller cities or rural communities.

    Washtenaw County Sheriff, Jerry Clayton, said he thinks the training will help cut down on incidents of police brutality. However, he told WWJ it is impossible to take away all risk.

    “You cannot train, you cannot have policy, you cannot adjust culture, recruit, screen to a point where you guarantee you will not have failures in the profession,” Clayton said. “It comes with the fact that we hire human beings.”

    The bill will now go before the State House.