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Mid-Michigan Police Criticize Ingham Prosecutor’s Traffic Stop Policy

sheriff at podium
Kevin Lavery
Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth and a number of other mid-Michigan law enforcement officers oppose a new Ingham County policy that would no longer charge people for "minor" infractions during traffic stops.

Several local law enforcement agencies are pushing back against Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon’s decision not to prosecute people for certain non-public safety infractions during traffic stops.

Siemon’s office announced the new policy Tuesday as an effort to reduce traffic stops targeting minority communities.

Siemon said pulling over drivers for minor infractions like broken taillights is often a pretext for police to charge them with more serious crimes.

However, Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth says police often find drugs or weapons during traffic stops, and that the policy protects suspects rather than victims.

“(There’s) no consequences or accountability,” Wriggelsworth says. “None. Zero. Simply giving people a free pass on many major felony offenses. How in the world Prosecutor Siemon thinks this policy makes our community safer is beyond me.”

Wrigglesworth says the policy will not change how his office will conduct its business.

He says legal and ethical traffic enforcement is good proactive police work.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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