Welcome back and thanks for joining The Kronzek Firm for this discussion on the issue of ‘job-hopping cops’ and why it’s been such a problem here in Michigan. In the previous article we discussed exactly what the issue is, and looked at why it creates issues both for police departments and for civilians who rely on the police to uphold the law. Moving on, we’re going to take a look at what Michigan has done to address this issue, and resolve the problem of job-hopping cops
What made legislators want to address this issue in Michigan?
Here in Michigan there was a specific case in Eaton County, where a sheriff’s deputy was accused of treating someone in an abusive way during a traffic stop. The officer resigned quickly after the allegations got out, but after some job shopping, simply reapplied at another police department in Lenawee County, and was given a job. Later, he was sued for two alleged assaults in Lenawee County. It was then revealed that this was only one in a string of misconduct issues, and the truth hadn’t followed the officer from one job to the next. He should have been stripped of his badge long before getting hired in Lenawee County, but because the law didn’t require disclosure of the previous assaults, he’d managed to fly under the radar for years.
What was done to solve this problem in Michigan?
In October of 2017, Republican Senator Rick Jones introduced a bill aimed at preventing police misconduct by requiring that it not be being kept secret when an officer leaves one job for a new one at another department. The bill passed 105-2 in the House, and moved with no opposition through the Senate before being signed into law by Governor Snyder before the end of the same month. Rick Jones is the former sheriff of Eaton County, MI.
What do the current Michigan laws say about tracking police misconduct?
Michigan law enforcement agencies are now required to keep records about the circumstances surrounding any officer’s employment separation. Also, officers have to sign waivers allowing any prospective employers to request their records, and the new department won’t be able to hire an officer until after it gets, and reviews, those personnel records. Agencies are also immune from civil liability for disclosing officer’s track records, in good faith, to prospective employers.
Were the changes supported by local law enforcement in Michigan?
While many people assumed that law enforcement agencies wouldn’t support the bill, that wasn’t the case. The bill was backed by the Michigan State Police, and by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. When you think about it, this makes sense. Why would an agency want to hire ‘cowboy’ cops, or risk their reputation with an officer who is likely to violate the law? Which leaves us wondering why the Police Officers Association of Michigan, a union representing more than 12,000 law enforcement officers, opposed the bill.
Most of Michigan’s law enforcement officers are good people!
The majority of Michigan’s police officers are hard working and law abiding. However, every now and then you get a ‘bad apple’ that makes all the rest look rotten. If an officer arrives at your home, demanding to search the premises without a warrant, or accuses you or a loved one of something you didn’t do, call us at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) immediately! Contact our highly skilled and aggressive defense attorneys today. We are available 24/7. We can protect your rights, and help you address this issue before before it gets out of hand.