Policy: Fair and Impartial Treatment of Persons

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to emphasize commitment to unbiased, equitable treatment of all persons.

POLICY

It is the policy of the Michigan State University Police Department (Department) that persons having contact with members of the Department shall be treated in a fair, impartial, equitable, and in an objective manner. Actions shall be in accordance with current law without consideration of their individual demographics, as defined in this policy.

DEFINITIONS

Biased Policing

Discrimination in the performance of law enforcement duties or delivery of police services, based on personal prejudices or partiality of officers toward classes of individuals or persons based on individual demographics.

Fair and Impartial Treatment

The belief that persons, irrespective of individual demographics as defined below, shall be treated in the same basic manner under the same or similar circumstances.

Reasonable concessions and accommodations may be, and sometimes should be made, when dealing with individuals with physical or mental disabilities, injury, illness, or similar conditions, or when information about them necessitates different treatment.

Individual Demographic

For the purposes of this policy, they include personal characteristics, such as race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, cultural group or political status.

Police Services

Sometimes referred to as community caretaking functions. These are actions and activities that may not directly include enforcement of the law, but that contribute to the overall well-being and safety of the public.

They may include: assistance at fire scenes, traffic accidents, medical emergencies, and special events.

Enforcement Based Contact

Police action that includes surveillance operations, investigative detentions and/or questioning, traffic stops, arrests, searches, and seizures.

PROCEDURES

Fair and Impartial Treatment

Department personnel engaged in law enforcement shall do so based on the standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and/or statutory authority.

Biased policing is prohibited both in enforcement of the law and the delivery of police services.

Officers shall take equivalent enforcement actions and provide equal services to all persons under the same or similar circumstances.

To establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause, employees must be able to articulate specific facts, circumstances, and conclusions.

Officers shall not consider individual demographics when performing law enforcement duties or delivering police services; except when such characteristics are part of a specific subject description provided by reliable, credible and relevant information that links an individual or group to a specific crime or series of crimes.

Unless exigent circumstances exist, officers shall not engage in a law enforcement matter when it involves a family member, friend, relative, or other person with whom he or she has a personal relationship, such that the officer’s objectivity may be, or may appear to be, compromised. In situations where the officer is personally involved, he or she will summon other officers for assistance.

It is recognized that in the course of their official duties all members of the Department will be required to conduct enforcement-based contacts that are directly related to a potential criminal investigation. In order to avoid the perception of bias, officers should employ the following strategies when reasonable.

Introduce oneself and explain the reason for the contact as soon as reasonably practical, unless jeopardy to officer safety exists by doing so.

Ensure the length of detention does not extend longer than necessary to conduct the appropriate investigation.

If reasonable and appropriate, utilize the concepts and tactics learned through department sponsored non-escalation/de-escalation training.

Compliance

Officers who witness or who are aware of instances of biased policing shall report the incident to a supervisor.

Where appropriate, officers are encouraged to intervene at the time the biased policing incident occurs.

Depending on the nature and seriousness of the incident, supervisors may provide the involved officer(s) with informal, non-punitive intervention, i.e., training and counseling.

All complaints that cannot be resolved effectively and appropriately by supervisory personnel—or that are determined to be potentially serious in nature—shall be forwarded to the Personnel Officer to conduct an internal investigation.

Complaints of biased policing shall be provided to the Chief in a manner most suitable for administrative review, problem identification, and development of appropriate corrective actions.

All documentation is subject to Department retention policies.

Training

All employees will receive basic and periodic in-service training on subjects related to police ethics, cultural diversity, police-citizen interaction, standards of conduct, conducting motor vehicle stops, implicit bias, and related topics suitable for preventing incidents of biased policing.

Interaction with Transgender Individuals

Personnel shall:

Respect an individual’s gender identity and gender expression.

Will not exhibit any bias, nor pre-judge or discriminate against an individual or group of members based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Use pronouns as requested by the individual (e.g.; “she, her, hers” for an individual who self-identifies as a female; “he, him, his” for an individual who self-identifies as a male; “they, them, theirs” for an individual who self-identifies as non-binary).

NOTE: Personnel shall respectfully ask individuals, “What pronouns do you prefer me to use?”

Always address the individual by the name and pronouns they request to use, regardless of what may be listed on their government-issued identification.

Name change and gender on reports

For the purposes of listing gender on citations, incident reports, and other official documentation; officers shall use the designation listed in the most recent records found in official government databases, such as LEIN

For purposes of listing the person’s name, personnel shall always write an individual’s name as it appears on that individual’s official government-issued identification card

If the individual identifies themselves using a different name, this should be documented in the narrative portion of a report or notes section of other documents

In the event that a government-issued identification card is not available at the time of contact, the individual will be classified according to what the person states is their information as it appears on their government-issued identification.

Personnel shall update records as soon as the individual’s identity can be confirmed

Immigration Related Enforcement

It is the policy of the Department to ensure equal enforcement under the law and service to all individuals regardless of their immigration status.

Employees should not question, detain nor arrest any individual based solely on their immigration status; this includes the routine or unwarranted questioning of an individual in order to determine their legality to be in the United States.

Should an employee determine a need to ask such questions, an articulable relationship to an ongoing criminal investigation must be established.

The Department complies with foreign government requests for notification when a respective citizen is arrested.

Employees having a reasonable belief that an individual under arrest is a citizen of another country may solicit citizenship information so that the appropriate consulate notification may be made.

Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees are carrying out their duties in an impartial, fair, and ethical manner.

Supervisors that identify employees failing to conduct themselves in accordance with this policy shall take immediate corrective action, report the incident to their supervisor, and document the circumstance using the Department’s personnel tracking software.