The Desire for More Transparent Policing
A Michigan state representative out of Detroit to looking to pass legislation that creates and implements a centralized database of Michigan police officers who have been faced discipline as an officer. This database looks to make officers accountable for their actions and will also prevent police from being able to hide their disciplinary records while seeking employment in other police departments. Critics that support the status quo believe that more laws governing the police actually require additional funding and staff to enforce existing laws that are already in place. Critics also believe that a new database would be difficult to maintain because of the wide-ranging disciplinary issues that would exist on the database, from minor ones to more serious ones.
The representative seeking to create the database, Tyrone Carter, is a veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office who served 25 years as an officer and retired in 2008. He is looking to gain bipartisan support for his proposal to have more accountability within police departments as well as statewide. He notes that he has been through not only the police academy, but also FBI training, and that officers are not trained to act in the way the officers did in the George Floyd murder. Carter does not believe that officers need more training, he believes that officers simply need to be held accountable for their actions.
Critics of Carter’s proposal point to Public Act 128 of 2017, which is a directive from the Michigan Coalition on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). This is also known as the Law Enforcement Officer Separation of Service Record Act. This act includes requirements such as:
• Police departments are to maintain records why an officer left an agency or department.
• Officers are required to sign a waiver when they leave a department that allow a prospective employer to contact former employers to discuss the officer and retrieve a copy of the officer’s separation of service records.
• Prospective employers are forbidden from hiring an officer unless they have that officer’s personnel record.
• The former police agency is immune from any civil liability for disclosing the officer’s personnel record.
MCOLES claims that they do not have enough staff to actually enforce the rules already in place, as there is only one investigator that looks into claims of officer misconduct. Of course, this claim comes with a request for additional funding so the police can police themselves. While this act does not cover exactly what representative Carter is looking to do with a proposed statewide database, it puts a magnifying glass over the fact that the money that has been allocated to MCOLES and other police agencies was not prioritized for police officer oversight.
Representative Carter is admittedly in the early stages of writing up the proposed legislation. He is also considering a mandatory mental health screening for officers as well as treatment for officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Carter has stated that he is not looking to put officers in dangerous situations where they second guess themselves and could ultimately become victims themselves. He is simply looking for the proper oversight of police officers, and their actions. Carter stated, “when it comes to law enforcement, a lot of things have been wrong for so long, and people just accept it. I don’t think people should have to accept it anymore.”
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of police brutality, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.