Michigan State Police trying to bridge gap between minority communities

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Davison, Mich.

On Wednesday, Michigan State Police hosted a water rescue training session for those planning on joining the police academy. They held it at the Davison Athletic Club.

This comes as MSP continues its efforts to recruit minority candidates.

21-year-old Roger Lee-Scott is one of the recruits participating in water training. The African-American man is hoping it will help him get into the academy and later graduate.

"I'm not the best swimmer," he says.

Michigan State Police Sargent Rick Jones is leading the training. He's using things like tires to train, saying when someone is in the water, an inflated tire can serve as a flotation device. He says this helps those who may not have had access to pools growing up.

"We also don't want someone to quit because of the water," he says referring to the academy.

Lee-Scott drove two hours from Brownstown Township to be a part of this. He acknowledges the tension between some minorities and police. He wants to help change that. He says being an officer wouldn't be a job. It's personal.

"I was raised in Detroit. I've seen a lot of things and just going through that and seeing the struggle, seeing people go through things, it really made me want to make a difference," Lee-Scott says.

Minority officers and officer hopefuls at the club say they are trying to help their community, while also helping to change the image of officers.

"I look at it from both sides," says State Trooper Brandon Franklin.

He navigates the world as a black man and police officer. He works to recruit new officers, especially from minority communities.

He says when officers behave badly, it makes the badge look bad. He understands why some communities don't trust law enforcement but says community members need to understand that there are good cops and bad cops.

"It hurts me because then the population turns their back on us," he says.

The goal is to move forward and heal wounds.

"Times change. We're in the up and coming," Franklin says.

And Lee-Scott is ready to make a difference in his community.

"It's definitely my duty to prove there are good cops out there," he says.

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