News Flash

City of Ypsilanti

Posted on: June 17, 2020

PUBLIC NOTICE: Message from the Chief of Police

Due to recent events there have been many requests for information regarding the Ypsilanti Police Department, #8Can’tWait, training etc.  Before we delve into those subjects I want to make certain points perfectly clear.  The sanctity of life and the ideal of treating people with respect and dignity is at the center of our core values as an organization.  What we have all repeatedly witnessed in the video out of Minnesota was an act of depraved indifference to another human being.  This act and the inaction of others can only be viewed as horrific, disgusting and criminal.  There is no room for this type of behavior within the police profession and if we are to continue to build trust with the community we must not be shy about denouncing these incidents.  Although it is never the desired outcome, it is an unfortunate reality that the use of force is sometimes necessary.  However, the abuse of that authority should never be acceptable, condoned or tolerated.  These events can be disturbing, but they need to be discussed.  These hard conversations are the way to build understanding, trust and legitimacy.

As the leader of this organization I can personally assure you that there is no tolerance for hate, injustice or discrimination of any kind within our organization and in anything that we do. We are committed to be as open as we can, to be the Guardians of our community and to being accountable for our actions.  The safety and well-being of all of the members of our community is our highest priority.

In the spirit of having those conversations, below you will find a short description for each of the #8Can’tWait items:

  •  Chokeholds and strangleholds are not techniques that are taught as part of our defensive tactics program or in Michigan Police Academies. In addition, any type of neck restraint is considered the use of Deadly Force.
  • The department has trained in de-escalation techniques. We also subscribe to utilizing them whenever possible. That being said, every instance is different so it would not be practical to “require” de-escalation in general. We do require that officers de-escalate as soon as resistance stops and control has been established.
  • Require Warning before Shooting. We do require that officers identify themselves, order the suspect to desist the unlawful activity and threaten the use of deadly force if it is reasonable to do so. There may be a need to take immediate action and taking the time to make the pronouncements may put others at risk.
  • Exhaust all alternatives: Again, each situation is different and the options or alternatives may be different. Factors like the size, gender, skills etc. of both the officer and suspect come into play. What we do require is that officers use the least amount of force necessary to effect the arrest.
  • Duty to Intervene: We absolutely have this requirement and the penalty for not taking action will result in swift and immediate disciplinary action including termination.
  • Ban shooting at vehicles. Shooting from or at moving vehicles in prohibited except in the case of extreme emergency.
  • Establish a Use of Force Continuum. We adhere to an established use of force continuum that escalates and de-escalates with the resistance offered. It is important to remember that a Force Continuum does not require that you to start at the bottom and work your way up. An officer can enter the continuum at a level appropriate for the incident. Example: An officer is dispatched to an assault and upon arrival observes a person actively stabbing another person. The officer would not start at the bottom with verbal commands and then move onto empty handed controls etc.
  • Require Use of Force be Reported: We actually do an extensive job in this area. All uses of force are required to be documented in the original police report, we also track all uses of force through a second reporting mechanism which captures the officers involved, the type of force used versus the resistance offered, day of the week, time of day, type of call for service, any injuries to the suspect or officer etc. We also submit to the City Manager an annual report on all Taser deployments and this past year we started to voluntarily submit use of force data to the Department of Justice National Use of Force Data Collection program offered by the FBI.

There have also been some questions about training.  The department has gone through several different versions of implicit bias training including “Fair and Impartial Policing” and “Human Terrain Mapping.”  These types of training are done in cycles to reinforce knowledge of tenured officers and to provide that training to newer officers.  The next cycle is due to start in June with “Police Ethics” training followed by “Fair and Impartial Policing” in July.  In addition, the Ypsilanti Police Department has committed to the “One Mind” pledge through the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which is a mental health program.  All members have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, 5 officers have been trained to the level of CIT (Crises Intervention Team) and 6 more are scheduled to be trained in the fall (delayed due to COVID19).   This training will be accompanied with an updated policy and innovative ways to work together with Community Mental Health to complete the pledge.  Routine trainings also include firearms proficiency, use of force decision making, defensive tactics, hazardous materials, blood borne pathogens, Naloxone administration etc.

Just a few words on organizational culture.  By its very nature, organizational culture ensures that the purpose of its members are aligned with the purpose of the organization. The purpose is spelled out in our Mission: “Working together to provide professional service to the community. Always vigilant, always honorable.”  We strive to provide the highest quality of personalized service to all who live, work, visit, learn and recreate in our City.  We will be committed to enhancing our community’s safety and quality of life through continuous improvement in our work.  The Department and its members believe in the dignity of all people, the sanctity of life and will respect the individual and constitutional rights of all people.  As an organization we have set high expectation for the effectiveness of our work and the behavior of our members.  Those expectations are non-negotiable and nothing less is acceptable.

We acknowledge that there has been a breach of the public trust, that there is always room for improvement and that there is much work to be done.  As I have stated before, we are committed to doing the work. 

We encourage those seeking further information to visit our website, where further information can be found regarding the General Orders of the Ypsilanti Police Department.

 They include:

General Order 1-1 Department Mission

General Order 2-19 Early Warning System

General Order 3-3 Professional Ethics

General Order 3-10 Bias Based Profiling Prohibited

General Order 4-1 Community Relations

General Order 12-1 Use of Force

General Order 12-5 Deadly Force

General Order 14-1 Body Worn Cameras

General Order 14-2 In-Car Cameras

Please click here to access the General Orders

Thank you for your kind attention to this message.  If I or the Ypsilanti Police Department can be of service to you please feel free to contact us.

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