New LPD Chief Discusses Controversial Arrest Video, More

Oct 2, 2019

Lansing got a new chief of police in August. Daryl Green took over following the retirement of his predecessor, Mike Yankowski.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl spoke with Daryl Green about his rise to the job of police chief in Lansing, and the aftermath of a video showing a young suspect being struck by Lansing police officers during an arrest this summer.


SCOTT POHL: Did it surprise you to hear in early July that your predecessor Mike Yankowski was going to retire?

LPD CHIEF DARYL GREEN: I wouldn't say it was a surprise. I will say that Chief Yankowski was a fine role model when it came to police administration, particularly leadership. So I was a little not necessarily surprised, but it did catch me aback a little bit.

POHL: His retirement came a few weeks after a video surfaced showing two Lansing officers arresting a 16-year-old girl with tactics that troubled a lot of observers. Subsequently, Officer Lindsay Howley was suspended for three days without pay in order to undergo more training after striking the girl in the leg 17 times while trying to get her into a police car. Officer Bailey Ueberroth was given a written reprimand with extended probation, and also ordered to undergo more training. Both are returning to the LPD. So a few questions about that, it's one of the big stories of the last six months or so with the department. What were your first thoughts when you saw the video?

GREEN: Well, when I first saw the video, obviously, like most people, I was a little concerned about it, and it necessitated the opportunity to look at our policies, look at our procedures, how we're training our new officers. We're talking about an officer who has just at a year worth of police service, so we're talking about a new officer. It gave us an opportunity to really look at the landscape to make sure that we have the right policies, procedures, training, manning, principles, in effect so this doesn't happen again.

POHL: Are you satisfied with the punishment these two officers received?

GREEN: Well, I was a part of the disciplinary process, and ultimately, the chief of police at that time was Chief Michael Yankowski, and I support his discipline on it.

POHL: Can you tell me if they've received this subsequent training, how that might be going for these two officers?

GREEN: Well, one thing about training is this: training has to be ongoing, so they've already received a set of additional training, and that'll continue. We're looking at, we're still doing our internal review board of it, to look at our training practices in a more detailed fashion. We're always seeking best methods and practices and so forth, and so for us, this is an ongoing process.

Also, I'm looking to bring some additional training that will help officers when they have contact with youth particularly. The name of that police training is called humane policing, and it's a Dr. Rivers that will be coming in. She's a professor, formerly here in the Lansing area but now in Louisiana. She'll be coming in in the next couple months to conduct that training as well, and we're also looking at our policies, as I mentioned earlier. So, we're looking at a youth interaction policy that's going through the policy chain of review as we speak right now, so we're looking forward to implementing that, and as we get closer, we'll have some more information about all of those things.

ON FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE:

POHL: The city of Detroit is facing a controversy over the use of facial recognition software. Detroit Police Chief James Craig says this software can be a useful crime fighting tool. Opponents, though, say it's unreliable and can be harmful to black and brown people. The Detroit police board has approved some uses for facial recognition software. What do you think about the use of this kind of software? Does Lansing employ it?

GREEN: Well, Lansing doesn't have that type of technology, and I'll say this, that the constitutional rights of our citizens are of utter importance to us, privacy rights and so forth. I have followed a little bit of that. I understand that. Detroit is a different city when it comes to Lansing. We have no plans here in the city of Lansing as of right now to actively seek out any of that type of technology.

POHL: Have you given thought to whether you would like it sometime, or do you not know enough about it yet?

GREEN: I don't think I know enough about it as of right yet. You know, I do know that there were some privacy concerns, but I think in most cases, a good solid policy and procedure can mitigate some of those concerns.

ON WORKING WITH IMMIGRATION OFFICERS:

POHL: Some police departments are cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and enforcing immigration laws. Other cities are refusing to do that. What is Lansing doing with regard to working in conjunction with ICE?

GREEN: Well, I don't think we are working in conjunction with ICE, to be perfectly honest with you. I think that when it comes to ICE as a whole, if there's an active violence situation, we're going to work with them. Obviously we’re concerned about the safety of our citizens, but we don't particularly work directly with ICE on any of their immigration violations or investigations and some sort. That's not what we do. We just don't have the resources to assist ICE with immigration. It’s just not something we're interested doing right now.

POHL: I want to make sure that we're clear: you said you're concerned with the safety of our citizens. By that do you also mean to imply the safety of non-citizens?

Well, I don't think we are working in conjunction with ICE, to be perfectly honest with you. I think that when it comes to ICE as a whole, if there's an active violence situation, we're going to work with them. Obviously we’re concerned about the safety of our citizens, but we don't particularly work directly with ICE on any of their immigration violations or investigations and some sort. That's not what we do. We just don't have the resources to assist ICE with immigration. It’s just not something we're interested doing right now.

POHL: I want to make sure that we're clear: you said you're concerned with the safety of our citizens. By that do you also mean to imply the safety of non-citizens?

GREEN: The safety of everyone that works in the city of Lansing, lives in the city of Lansing, visits the city of Lansing, we're concerned with all those people.

POHL: I have a few really basic questions: is Lansing a dangerous city?

GREEN: No, Lansing is not a dangerous city. In policing, we have what's called an 80-20 rule. The vast majority of the calls, when it comes to dispatch calls for police officers, are service related. I'm not giving you specific statistics, but it could be in the ballpark of 80% of our police officers work is related to some type of service. They're dealing with someone having some type of a crisis, whether it's a mental breakdown, a person who was homeless, you know, a person involved in a domestic situation, whereas it may not have reached to a criminal situation. We may have to assist in separating the parties, those type of peace order violations. The vast majority of our contact with people are those, and 20% is actually crime fighting.

One of the things I've always said about policing is it's very fluid, and when it comes to the 80-20 rule, while we look at our policies and procedures, we have to also embrace our training. Are we giving our officers training in a way that is consistent with the type of work they're going to do on the job? Because again, the vast majority of the work they're going to do is some type of service. It's not necessarily crime fighting, investigating a specific crime that you see on a movie. Real police work, a vast majority of its dealing with services, so we're looking at all those training processes that make sure the percentage of time we're training our officers is consistent with what they're actually doing on the job.

POHL: Does Lansing have a gang problem?

GREEN: No, Lansing does not have a game problem.

POHL: Does Lansing have a gun problem?

GREEN: No, Lansing does not have a gun problem. I will say this, that it's always concerning to me. I don't really have the numbers on this, But it's always concerning to me that people will leave their gun in the car and unattended. Many of our thieves, they'll go around town checking doors to see if they're unlocked, and they'll just open a car door and they'll take property. Once in a while we'll get a gun that was stolen out of a car because the car door was left unlocked, and the gun was obviously left unattended. So for me, that is a critical problem because the vast majority of our criminals that do have guns have illegal guns.

POHL: Does Lansing have enough cops on the street?

GREEN: Well, I'll say this, that we use the resources that we have the best way we can. We embrace technology as a result, to further expand and increase our ability to be effective and efficient out on the street. You know, as the police chief, would I take another 20, 30 cops? Yes, I could put them to work. I most definitely could put them to work.