MSP's citizen advisory council encouraging SWMI residents to reach out

NILES, Mich. -- The Michigan State Police department has announced a new commitment to systemic change with the creation of its citizen advisory council.

The new council consists of 10 volunteers nominated by liaisons of Gov. Whitmer for their professionalism and community involvement to make up the new group, “Bridges to Blue.”

As officer-involved shootings gripped the nation this summer – sparking racial justice protests and calls for law enforcement reform – MSP is using this as an opportunity to roll out their new council, which they’ve actually been working on since 2019.

“We’re going through a cultural transformation not only in the state but across the nation and I think the more conversation, interaction and diversity that law enforcement can be exposed to the better off we are,” said Col. Joe Gasper, MSP director. “So our Bridges to Blue group is something that will give us the opportunity to hear straight from community members.”

Its 10 members represent different regions across Michigan and are expected to voice concerns and ideas to improve police-community relations in each area.

Chosen to represent southwest Michigan was Omar Cuevas, who’s vice-president of sales and marketing at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and committed to improving racial equity.

Cuevas said so far he’s seen the dedication from MSP.

“What they’re saying is we’re creating a new table and adding a chair for you, as a citizen of this state, to help guide us in what this looks like,” said Cuevas.

Cuevas is also asking southwest Michigan residents to bring their opinions to his attention and email him directly at omar@grandrapids.org

“I’m calling on community organizations to reach out to me; this is their opportunity to convey their concerns knowing that they’re willing to listen.”

MSP has also launched a new Transparency and Accountability website which can be found at www.michigan.gov/MSPtransparency. For bios of all the members of the citizen advisory council, head to https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1586_101168-536695--,00.html

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