MARQUETTE, Mich. — Thursday marks the sixth annual celebration of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
Late last year, Marquette City Police Dept. had rightfully rectified unfortunate alleged misconduct by former officers, and used a transparent lesson to begin encouraging a new class of officers of outstanding character to join an admirable field.
Today we celebrate successes. There are many.
There are also areas for improvement—especially nationally regarding injustices in communities of color—but I’m confident the integrities of our local departments are intact.
I extend my gratitude to the women and men in blue at the helm of Chief Blake Rieboldt of the Marquette Police Department, Chief Michael Bath of NMU Public Safety, Sheriff Greg Zyburt of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office, and Director Joe Gasper of Michigan State Police.
There is no profession more undervalued and more dangerous than law enforcement. They have answered the call to serve and protect and work hard to keep our Upper Peninsula neighborhoods safe.
We are continuing our efforts in community policing, jail diversion, youth officer programs, and taking a more serious approach to aiding victims of domestic abuse.
A new program with the Marquette County Prosecutor’s office focuses on putting the victim’s experience first and foremost and identifying any gaps in the process that decrease victim safety. It puts attention on the offender in holding them accountable during the process.
The Marquette Police Department and NMU Public Safety have also been extraordinarily active in ensuring our school zones are safe.
We have work to do locally building a better relationship between the police and our city’s most vulnerable – the homeless – but, it’s trending in a positive direction.
I am more encouraged every day by the tireless and selfless acts of local officers. It’s imperative to recognize their commitments to duty. Now, more than ever before, we must cultivate and encourage good officers to pursue interest in this essential field.
Marquette is home to a youth officer program celebrating a successful second year.
Our departments are often under-resourced to combat a meth, fentalyl and opioid epidemic. But law enforcement is the unsung hero and the vanguard in these battles.
Today and every day they deserve our thanks.
These are some of the areas I hope we can collectively celebrate, and others where I see we can improve…
I am a proponent of #CommunityPolicing. Developing relationships with students in school builds trust and bridges the communication gap between law enforcement and citizens. Marquette Police Department has always done this well, as shown in this endearing photo of Youth Services Officer Dawson reading to students at Superior Hills. goo.gl/EX49Lq
Programs like Marquette’s jail diversion program resolve situations to better serve people with mental illnesses who…
A healthy baby girl was recently left in a baby box. #Michigan is a Safe Haven state. You can leave your baby, up to three days old, with a staff member at any hospital, fire station, police station or EMS personnel on duty. It’s an unfortunate need, but because of Safe Haven laws no one ever has to abandon a child ever again. safehaven.tv/states/michigan
Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Monday, April 9, 2018
Nationally, citizens justifiably advocate for progressive reforms to address a systemic communication gap to law enforcement. This country must address the growing mistrust and animosity perpetuated by bad officers and criminals alike, which stain an admirable, reputable profession and endangers innocent communities of color.
It is my firm belief we can be appreciative of the efforts of individuals and local departments and still offer critical analysis of problems pertaining to justice and inequality. To better bridge the gap between law enforcement and communities of color, I am a proponent of progressive policing reforms including:
- Sentencing fairly
- Combating mass incarceration
- Studying, adjusting or ending mandatory minimums
- Ending the imprisonment of cannabis offenders
- Expunging records of cannabis offenders
- Ending ineffective measures from the ‘War on Drugs’ and offer more addiction services
- Practicing restorative justice
- Ending ‘Stop and Frisk’
- Ending ‘Broken Window Policing’
- Ending ‘Predictive Policing’
- Re-evaluating ‘Legacy Training’
- Deploying #CommunityPolicing
- Aiding re-entry, and combating recidivism
- Ending ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws
- Re-training officers in de-escalation
- Training in diversity and cultural autonomy
- Prosecuting police brutality and misconduct
Thankfully, Marquette is ahead of the curve in many of these areas.