Three years ago, the Town of Mt. Pleasant Commissioners expressed interest in the police working with community groups to better serve community members who have historically been underserved.
Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Paul Lauria gave Commissioners an annual written update on the steps that have been taken to expand the city’s diversity and human rights initiatives on Monday. .
Lauria met with community groups and provided this year’s report to City Manager Aaron Desentz and Commissioners on Monday’s agenda.
Lauria said national social justice issues and the ongoing pandemic took center stage last year, and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department focused on national situations while conducting reviews. operational and making the necessary adjustments.
âIn 2021, we focused on local needs,â Lauria said in the annual report. âEven though the COVID-19 virus consumed 2021 and created a society weary of the pandemic, the year was nonetheless filled with engaging and informative discussions, trainings, newly formed partnerships and long-standing collaborations that solidified. and enlarged. “
Lauria provided a summary of actions over the past year, starting with the creation of monthly resident complaint reports, which were provided to the Commissioners, the Mt. Pleasant Area Diversity Group and the Rights Committee of the man from Isabella County.
Lauria attended monthly virtual meetings with the HRC to answer questions or concerns and “always had the opportunity at the meeting to make a statement and / or answer questions from specific committee members,” said writes Lauria, adding that he continues to meet one-on-one. -one with Maureen Eke, HRC board member who was elected to the city committee in November.
Lauria also wrote about the department co-sponsoring the HRC’s annual âLet Peace Reignâ event in Island Park, with the participation of several officers.
Lauria also continued last year to meet with Joyce Hendricks of the Mt. Pleasant Area Diversity Group to discuss issues such as policy development, citizen complaints, de-escalation, use of force, domestic violence and mental health training for officers.
Lauria summarized the demographic information on the arrests as requested and provided the data to the commissioners, the diversity group and the human rights committee.
He also said the department continued throughout the year to meet with residents, groups or organizations, and that police personnel attended the first annual Juneteenth celebration at Central Michigan University.
All officers also received annual de-escalation and use of force training again, Lauria wrote. According to Lauria, two agents are certified de-escalation instructors.
Lauria also highlighted the one-year pilot program that the city launched with Recovery, Independence, Safety and Empowerment (formerly Women’s Aid) last month to provide networking services for people with mental health issues, temporary crises. and drug addiction, including drug overdoses. .
This program includes a contract position to further guide officers when dealing with people with mental health and addiction issues, and connect them to additional resources for specialist help, Lauria said.
âThis is a new concept for a police service of our size,â wrote Lauria, adding that funding for the position came from savings on vacant positions within the police service.
Lauria said she was satisfied with the progress made this year.
âOur relationships with community groups remain strong and there is a mutual commitment to continue the valuable two-way dialogue,â Lauria wrote. “This dedication from all parties will prove beneficial in any challenges we may face in the future.”