Thursday, May 13, 2021

Canton, Inkster awarded law enforcement grants

Canton Township and the City of Inkster were among the five communities who will share $200,000 in grant funding from the Community Policing Innovations Initiative.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awarded the grants to local police departments “to work with their communities to address issues in police practices, systems and services,” according to a prepared statement. The funding will be awarded to both the  Canton Township Police Department and the Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities; the Detroit Police Department; East Downtown Dearborn Development Authority and Black Legacy Advancement Coalition; the Inkster Police Department and Beloved Community Initiative and First AME Church of Farmington Hills.

This is the pilot phase of the grant funding and the focus of the effort is police use of force, officer accountability, disparate enforcement and treatment, re-imagining public safety, and truth and reconciliation,” according to the foundation statement.

Last week, Canton Township trustees authorized the formation of a new initiative called the Police Transparency and Guidance Subcommittee formed in collaboration with the Canton Police Department and the Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities (CCIC).  The group will operate as a subcommittee out of the CCIC, and be tasked with examining police misconduct investigations, with an emphasis on complaints regarding use of force, false arrest and complaints alleging racial profiling or bias-based policing, said Director of Police Services Chad Baugh.

“This committee will help express a community-driven voice as it relates to police service,” said Baugh. “As we deploy some of the best police officers in our state, we are at the same time increasing our transparency and developing another mechanism to find solutions and build a stronger bond with our citizens,” Baugh added. 

The committee will be citizen-led, consisting of five diverse members of the CCIC who will provide annual reports with possible recommendations to the police chief. These reports and recommendations will be reviewed with the township supervisor and board of trustees, and the chief will address any strategic programming needs to meet the service expectations of the Canton community. 

“We are proud to say that Canton is taking a proactive step in strengthening our police and community partnership,” said Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak. “The new committee will not replace any of the current policy processes we have in place, but instead increase transparency and commitment to our residents,” Graham-Hudak added.

As part of the Community Policing Innovations Initiative, community groups will work with police departments “to develop community-driven, substantive, and pragmatic changes in the way that policing and public safety services are provided.” 

The Community Policing Innovations Initiative was launched this year to effect police reform in southeast Michigan. The initiative is supported by funds from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Hudson-Webber Foundation, Ballmer Group and Oakland County.