News Flash

City Manager News

Posted on: June 15, 2020

BAY CITY NAACP, CITY LEADERS MEET TO DISCUSS "UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY"

photo of Newton, Muscott and Cecchini

BAY CITY, MICH., JUNE 15, 2020 - There is unity in our community. Representatives from the City of Bay City and the Bay City Branch of the NAACP met Thursday morning to talk about what initiatives are already in place, as well as what can be done moving forward to assure our community fully understands, implements and encourages racial equality.

NAACP Bay City Branch President Darold Newton met with City Manager Dana Muscott and Department of Public Safety Director Michael Cecchini to talk about law enforcement practices and City operations regarding diversity and race relations. Several topics were discussed including: the creation of a review board should policing issues arise related to race relations, use of force tactics, access to open records, minority recruitment, and other matters. 

In 2016 Bay City formed its first-ever Human Relations Committee to oversee discrimination complaints. To date, the committee has not been called upon. However, after meeting with Newton the City will now explore the possibility of creating a subcommittee to assist with any future discrimination complaints stemming from public safety efforts. Any change would require approval of the City Commission. 

Cecchini also shared the department’s transparency efforts. Each month the department uses social media to share statistics for Use of Force encounters – which shows the person’s race and age. The Public Safety Department’s Annual Report, policing policies, and Operations Digest are also available 24/7 on the City’s website. These practices have been in place for several years. The Freedom of Information Act is another avenue for citizens to learn more about specific law enforcement contacts. In addition, Bay City was one of the first departments in the state to utilize body-worn cameras as a regular practice in 2015. ‘“Values and Respects Diversity.”  This is one of the five core values of the Bay City Department of Public Safety,” Director Cecchini said. “The men and woman of the Bay City Department of Public Safety have worked hard over the years to foster positive community interaction and build trust with all members of the community and we will continue to do so.  We stand ready to serve.”

Along with the practices already in place, and information readily available on www.baycitymi.org (select Government, then under Departments select Public Safety, before choosing from the five options on the left-side navigation) – Newton, Muscott and Cecchini also talked about adding Implicit Bias training and increasing efforts to recruit minority candidates. “During this time of social unrest, we need to be an example of positive actions.  Actions that speak loud,” Muscott said. “We need to see all individuals for who they are and what they represent, and appreciate and accept the differences.”

We believe the open line of communication between the City and the local NAACP branch is an important part of moving our community forward, together.

Newton shared this statement:

“The NAACP was originally founded and chartered in the city of Bay City in 1918 and 1909 nationally. The local branch has been a pillar of the community and a staunch fighter for civil rights and social justice for people of all colors in the Bay City community. We will go to all lengths and take every measure to assure these inalienable rights are afforded to each man woman and child while simultaneously promoting goodwill and unity in the community.

The meeting with the Bay City Government and the Department of Public Safety during this challenging time in history was not only mandatory it was vital and necessary in a process for positive change. The conversation leads to education, litigation and eventual legislation for the sanctity of the community and the people.

The NAACP Bay City Branch is pleased for the solid measures already in place by both departments on discrimination, diversity/inclusion and policing moreover, are pleased with the additional agreed upon and proposed assurances and safeguards to be added to city management and public safety departments. These additions will ensure and foster the safety, empowerment and vitality of the community particularly people of color and other community members we represent.

There indeed is "Unity In Our Community". We the NAACP Bay City Branch look forward to open and continued dialogue and working together for justice for all. We are pleased with the cooperation of City Manager Dana Muscott and the efforts of Public Safety Director Michael Cecchini. When we all work together, we all win!”


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