Sen. Ruth Johnson introduces ‘Law Enforcement Officer Duty to Intervene Act’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson on Thursday introduced legislation to make Michigan the first state in the country 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 law enforcement officer.

“The video of what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis was unsettling beyond words,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “I was so deeply disturbed not only by the actions of the officer who took Mr. Floyd’s life, but also by the inaction of other officers who witnessed what was happening and failed to stop it.”

In addition to requiring every police department in the state to have a “duty to intervene” policy, Senate Bill 967 would require agencies to take appropriate disciplinary action against any officer who is found to be in violation of the policy.

While many agencies in Michigan and around the country have already adopted such policies, according to the Use of Force Project, fewer than half of the 100 largest police departments in the U.S. currently have such a policy.

“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,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. “We must hold those accountable who choose not to speak up or intervene just as much as those who engage in wrongdoing. This policy must be a standard for anyone who takes the oath and wears a badge.”

SB 967 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.

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