I posted this blog back in December. I was horrified to read about the shooting in Oklahoma by the reserve deputy who thought he pulled a Taser and pulled his pistol instead killing a subject. There are dangers in having untrained, minimally supervised people who have not been carefully selected through psychological testing and background investigation perform as police officers. They are given guns and authority to take a life without even minimal standards. We have the same system in Michigan as highlighted by the situation in Oakley Michigan. Some reserve programs do what they should–Sheriff Bouchard here in Oakland County sends all reserves through a reserve academy and conducts regular training. Not all communities do that. And in the face of budget shortfalls, more have been replacing sworn officers with unsworn, unregulated reserves, I fear.
Senator Tonya Schuitemaker has introduced 2 bills addressing this situation as well as giving MCOLES power to more closely regulate the actions of police officers. She sponsored them last session and has brought them back for a second try. I hope we have success this time. Perhaps we can prevent this kind of tragedy.
You might recall that I was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards a few years ago. Governor Snyder has a policy that appointees can only serve a total of 8 years and since I was on the Commission prior to his election, I’m at the 8 year mark so I expect to leave the Commission soon. One of the projects I worked on was a legislative package that would have modernized the Commission and improved its ability to de license police officers for certain kinds of crimes. Right now we are one of 16 states with minimal ability to de license police officers – they must be convicted by a court of a felony crime. We have found that there are some crimes for which we believe that an officer should lose his/her license but are not felonies. There is one form of criminal…
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