June 16, 2020
LANSING – To effectuate substantive, structural change to the police oversight system in Michigan, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced seven proposals as part of a series of actions for police reform. The proposals seek to increase transparency surrounding law enforcement agencies and ensure accountability from and for law enforcement officers.
In 2016, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) began requiring that law enforcement officers in the State of Michigan be licensed. But, in many respects, MCOLES lacks sufficient authority to oversee law enforcement professionals and to revoke the licenses of police officers who demonstrate poor moral character or violate the public trust.
The proposals aim to create oversight for law enforcement agencies and their officers similar to many of the professions and professional licenses required across the state, along with a comprehensive approach to evaluating misconduct complaints and imposing disciplinary actions by a single agency, MCOLES.
The proposals include:
“We must do more than just condemn bigotry and acts of excessive force committed by law enforcement officers. We must act,” said Nessel. “Today, I have announced seven proposals for police reform, but this is merely a start. Making meaningful and concrete changes doesn’t end here, but it’s crucial that we move first with measures which create better accountability and more transparency to the actions of law enforcement here in Michigan. This work is a marathon, not a sprint and I am committed to moving with all deliberate speed in making progress on this front.”
In the coming weeks, the Attorney General will meet with members of the Legislature, community groups, advocacy groups, law enforcement agencies and other relevant stakeholders to discuss these proposals in addition to other potential areas of reform.
“This is just the first step toward implementing positive change in our criminal justice system,” Nessel said. “I look forward to working with these stakeholders to identify and implement additional ways to ensure all people – regardless of their race, color or zip code – are treated with equal respect and dignity under the law.”