Last Wednesday I spent the day in Lansing. I am honored to serve my profession as a member of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and I attended a Commission meeting. The Commission is appointed by the Governor to serve a statutory mission of setting standards and training for Michigan’s 19,000+ police officers. I was first appointed by Governor Granholm and then by Governor Snyder. I represent the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and was recommended to serve by that body. It is not a political appointment in the sense that my personal politics plays a role–just that I am appointed to serve. I am not paid for this position and I’m fortunate that the City allows me to participate. The Commission has 17 members who represent a broad spectrum of the criminal justice system: police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, police labor representatives and elected sheriffs. Despite the fact that we come from different parts of the system and we disagree on some things, we agree on the most important issues that surround providing Michigan citizens with high quality law enforcement services.
At our meeting on Wednesday we honored a member who was not reappointed, David Morse, Livingston County Prosecutor and the family of a Detroit officer killed in the line of duty, Brian Huff. We approved changes to the way in which we “de obligate” grant money that we distribute to training entities to better use our declining dollars. Back in the 1980s a $5 surcharge was placed on traffic tickets to help establish a system to assure dollars to support training for police. “De obligation” means that we remove grant money from grant entities like colleges or policing organizations that failed to use the entire grant amount or use it inappropriately and re allocate it where it can do more good. Most of Michigan’s law enforcement training, training for prosecuting attorneys, judges and even the defense counsel comes from the same pool of grant money. I know you may express concern that defense bar gets money but lets remember that our Bill of Rights says that people are entitled to an adequate defense if they are charged with a crime. Having an adversary system keeps us all at our best.
I enjoy the opportunity to influence my profession now and in the future.