Sen. Johnson sponsors ‘Duty to Intervene’ bill in police improvement package

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to require all law enforcement agencies to adopt “duty to intervene” policies requiring their officers to intervene to prevent an observed use of excessive force by another officer.

“A year ago, I was so deeply disturbed by the actions of the officer who took George Floyd’s life and also by the inaction of other officers who witnessed what was happening and failed to stop it,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “While many agencies in Michigan and around the country have already adopted intervening policies, this measure would ensure that all law enforcement officers in Michigan understand their duty to speak up or step up when wrongdoing is happening.”

In addition to requiring every police department in the state to have a “duty to intervene” policy, Senate Bill 480 would require agencies to take appropriate disciplinary action against any officer who is found to be in violation of the policy.

Johnson sponsored the same bill last year.

When she announced the original bill in June 2020, Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said, “The duty to intervene has been an integral part of our policies at the sheriff’s office for a long time and should be a standard for all of our law enforcement partners.”

SB 480 is part of a 12-bill, bipartisan package covering a wide variety of law enforcement issues, such as Use of Force, no-knock warrants, body cameras, independent investigations, de-escalation training and recruitment and retention of officers.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.

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