Welcome back to this discussion on reserve officers in Michigan, and why this should be a more controversial subject than it is! As we mentioned in the previous article, a recent investigation conducted by the Detroit Free Press revealed that there are more than 3,000 civilian officers, untrained and unsupervised, working all over the state of Michigan. But what does that mean?
It means a lot of questionable conduct over the years…
During their investigation into this situation, the Free Press discovered a number of situations where civilian officers should never have made the rank and file to begin with. And in many cases, once they were there, they made poor choices that reflected badly on well-trained and hard working police officers. Among others, here were some of the instances they revealed:
- In Highland Park, a convicted felon who by law can’t carry a gun in Michigan, patrolled as an armed reserve police officer,
- Several police departments in western Michigan accepted as a volunteer reserve officer, the former leader of a hate group,
- In Flint, a reserve officer was once convicted for operating a vigilante force that at one point held teenagers at gunpoint.
What plans are in place to fix this?
In a word: none. Michigan is one of the few states in the US that has no standards set for how civilian officers should be screened before hiring, trained, and then supervised. This is unbelievably unfortunate, as it means that thousands of people are out there, all over the state, appearing for all the world to be police officers, but are pretty much anything but.
In 2017, legislation was passed that allows the Michigan Commision on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), who is responsible for licensing and training police officers, to create standards for screening civilian officers qualifications, and a process for monitoring their conduct while they’re on the job. For reasons no one seems sure of, they haven’t even started on that process, and apparently have no plans to in the future. When asked by the DFP, they admitted that they didn’t even know how many of these types of officers there were operating at any one time in the state.
Stop and think about the implications…
Police officers who are properly trained have very stressful jobs. They deal with people at their worst, and are exposed to all kinds of frightening and heartbreaking situations. It wears away at them, and even these well trained and experienced men and women in uniform sometimes fall prey to fear, or anger, or instincts that override their training. And in situations like that, even a well trained and experienced officer can make a poor choice.
So how much more likely is it when the officer in question has no training, and shouldn’t have been put in a position of authority to begin with! Civilian officers have been tied to a surprising number of abuses in Michigan, which should be an indicator to MCOLES that they need to prioritize this issue, in order to protect the rights of Michigan residents.
Have your rights been violated by a Michigan police officer?
There are civilian officers working all over the state. So whether you live in Kalamazoo, Mason County Arenac, Grand Rapids, the Thumb area or Brighton, you’ve probably encountered a few of them. And if your rights have been violated by an officer during or after an arrest, then you need help from a top rated criminal defense attorney. Call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 today, and talk to one of our experienced and aggressive defense lawyers. Make sure your rights are being protected, and your case is being handled by someone with a long history of success.