Lansing candidates for mayor and city council talk about police and security

Posted: Apr 10, 2021 / 10:50 PM EDTUpdated: April 10, 2021 / 10:50 p.m. EDT

This afternoon Black Lives Matter Lansing and the community heard firsthand from candidates running for mayor and city council about their views on the police and community safety.

“This is definitely one of the most polarized topics of our everyday lives. It’s about police work and what it’s going to be like in the future,” said Michael Lynn Jr., Black Lives Matter Lansing.

The Black Lives Matter Lansing chapter told me that they invited everyone who announced they would run for mayor or city council, but only three candidates for mayor and five city council candidates showed up.

Questions centered on Lansing policing and what would change it, such as the implementation of community officials who would not be armed.

“Community cops are a vital, critical element in transforming our urban policing. We need cops who are not threatening, we need cops who are embedded in our communities and have those established relationships in our communities, ”said Patricia Spitzley, current councilor and mayoral candidate.

Mayoral candidate Virge Bernaro joined the conversation, adding that the police are still needed for emergencies, but there are four components that need to be fixed.

“When it comes to policing now, it comes down to recruitment, training, accountability and community,” said Bernaro.

Candidates were asked for their opinion on defusing the police. Many of them agreed, while two others said “transform” and “improve” rather than yes.

In 2020, the Lansing Police Department announced they would not stop drivers for secondary traffic violations to focus on more dangerous crimes.

Current City Councilor Brian Jackson says there should be other resources to help those who interact with the police.

“I want to repeal petty and petty prescriptions so these interactions don’t happen,” Jackson said. “I know your legal training with young people and teach them how they can legally assert their rights with the police so that negative interactions are restricted.”

On May 6th there will be another virtual candidate forum on campaign priorities.

If you want to see all of the candidates’ community conversation, you can go to the Seen section on 6.

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