Employment Standards for Michigan Law Enforcement Officers

The chart below outlines the selection and employment standards published by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). By law, no person shall be employed as a law enforcement officer unless they fully comply with these standards. Agencies may set standards higher than these, however, the burden is upon the agency to defend the job relatedness of the higher standard.

Agencies must screen all pre-service, agency employed recruits, or reciprocity candidates considered for employment for compliance with all standards.

The selection and employment standards published under the authority of Public Act 203 of 1965 are found in Rules 28.14203, through 28.14207 of the Michigan Administrative Code of 1979, as amended

Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards
106 W. Allegan, Suite 600

P.O. Box 30633
Lansing, MI 48909

Printable copy of the Selection and Employment Standards PDF icon

MCOLES Policies and Procedures Manual  PDF icon






Not less than 18 years.

No maximum age


United States Citizenship.

Birth Certufucatel Certificate of Naturalization;  Valid Passport


High school diploma or GED is the minimum for an employed recruit.  Pre-Service recruits must have a minimum of an associate's degree upon completion of the basic training academy

A college degree from an accredited institution is evidence of complying with this standard.

Felony Convictions

No prior felony convictions.

Includes expunged convictions.

Good Moral Character

Possess good moral character as determined by a favorable comprehensive background investigation covering school and employment records, home environment, and personal traits and integrity.

Includes arrest and expunged convictions, all previous law violations and personal protection orders.

Driver's License

Possess a valid operators or chauffeur's license.

May not be in a state of suspension or revocation.

Disorders, Diseases or Defects

Be free from any physical defects, chronic diseases, or mental and emotional instabilities which may impair the performance of a law enforcement officer or which might endanger the lives of others or the law enforcement officer. 

This includes, but is not limited to, diseases such as diabetes, seizures and narcolepsy. Each case shall be investigated to determine its extent and effect on job performance. The evaluation should include the expert opinion of a licensed physician specializing in occupational medicine.* See below for mental and emotional instability standard.


Initial unaided testing involves pure tone air conduction thresholds for each ear, as shown on the pure tone audiogram, shall not exceed a hearing level of 25 decibels at any of the following frequencies: 500, 1000, 2000, 3000; and 45 decibels at 4000 Hertz.

Initial testing may be performed by a certified hearing conservationist, a licensed hearing aid specialist or a licensed audiologist. See Note for individuals requiring additional unaided or aided testing requirements by a licensed audiologist. *

Mental / Emotional Disorders

Be free from mental or emotional instabilities which may impair the performance of the essential job functions of a law enforcement officer or which might endanger the lives of others or the law enforcement officer.

Mental and emotional stability may be assessed by a licensed physician, or a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. MCOLES may require the examination be conducted by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. ** 

Vision, Color

Possess normal color vision without the assistance of color enhancing lenses.

The unaided eye shall be tested using pseudoisochromatic plates. The Farnsworth Dichotomous D-15 panels shall be used for any candidate who fails the pseudoisochromatic plates.

Vision, Corrected

Possess 20/20 corrected vision in each eye.

No uncorrected standard

Vision, Normal Functions

Possess normal visual functions in each eye.

Includes peripheral vision, depth perception, etc.

Reading and Writing

Pass the MCOLES reading and writing examination or an approved agency equivalent examination. 

Does not apply to Recognition of Prior Training & Experience Program Students

Physical Fitness

Pass the MCOLES physical fitness pre-enrollment examination. This does not apply to Recognition of Prior Training & Experience Program students.

Pre-enrollment testing is required for admittance to an approved training program, however this standard is fulfilled only upon successful completion of physical fitness training.

Police Training

Successfully complete the MCOLES mandatory basic training curriculum.

This may be done by completing successfully, an approved college preservice program or a basic training academy. Candidates seeking reciprocity from other states may apply for the Recognition of Prior Training and Experience Program.

Licensing Examination

Pass the MCOLES licensing examination upon the completion of basic training.

For reciprocity candidates, successfully complete the Recognition of Prior Training and Experience Program and licensing examination.


Fingerprint the applicant with a search of state or federal fingerprint files to disclose criminal record.

Includes expunged convictions. 

Oral Interview 

Conduct an oral interview to determine the applicant's acceptability for a law enforcement officer position and to assess appearance, background and the ability to communicate.


Drug Testing

Cause the applicant to be tested for the illicit use of controlled substances

Must use a Commission certified laboratory and comply with Commission procedures.


 * Agencies with an applicant who fails the initial hearing standard should contact the MCOLES Standards Compliance Section for additional unaided and aided hearing criteria as well as testing protocols.

** Agencies are encouraged to request the assistance of the Standards Compliance Section of MCOLES when their employment process reveals that a candidate may not comply with a state standard. This is particularly true with medical conditions which may involve circumstances unfamiliar to the agency and which require medical opinions. Please call 517-322-1417 with any questions.