WESTLAND, Mich. (WJBK) - Westland police have made a big move. They're now wearing bodycams to ease tensions in the community after an incident in August.
It was a controversial situation after Westland police tased a man holding a baby that lead to a community protest. The officer was suspended and conversations between police and community activists began. Now every officer is outfitted with a body camera.
"A program like this does not just benefit the Westland Police Department but it truly benefits the Westland community as a whole," said Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik.
The body cameras are a tool for investigators and prosecutors but also for building community trust. Police say all 81 officers have a body cam.
"There will be no more doubt as to what's really taking place in our community when it comes down to the interactions between the citizens and the members of law enforcement," said Rev. John Hearn Jr. of Christian Faith Ministries.
Westland Mayor Bill Wild acknowledging law enforcement needs to work more closely with people of color in the community.
"It's probably something as a community that we have not spent enough time on so I'm making the commitment that we will spend more time on it," he said.
Wild pledged to ease tensions between public safety and the people.
"We're going to examine our policies and procedures through a lens of racial equality and fairness and when we get it wrong, we're going to admit it - because we do get things wrong," he said.
Westland police and community activists say this is a step in the right direction.
"This gives the ability for the officers to show that they are out there doing the right thing and it gives the community an ability to look at what our officers are doing and build that trust and transparency," Jedrusik said.
"Police officers need the citizens - the citizens need the police officers so this will allow a wonderful opportunity for transparency and the building of trust," said Rev. John Duckworth of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church.