Licensing Standards for Michigan Law Enforcement Officers (Effective January 2, 2017 ~ 2016 PA 289)

The chart below outlines the licensing standards published by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). Employment of law enforcement officers is subject to compliance with these standards.  Agencies may set standards more stringent than these; however, the burden is upon the agency to demonstrate that a more stringent standard is related to the ability to perform the essential job functions and is otherwise in compliance with applicable law.

All preservice and agency employed recruits  must be screened to all the academy enrollment standards, and all reciprocity candidates considered for employment must be screened by the agency for compliance with all standards.

The licensing standards published under the authority of 2016 PA 289 are found in Rules 28.14203 through 28.14207 of the Michigan Administrative Code.

Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards
927 Centennial Way

P.O. Box 30633
Lansing, MI 48909

Printable copy of Licensing Standards for Michigan Law Enforcement OfficersPDF icon

MCOLES Policies and Procedures Manual  PDF icon






Not less than 18 years.

No maximum age


United States Citizenship.

Birth Certificate; 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 the minimum standard.

Prohibited Criminal Adjudications of Guilt

Enrollment denials begin with the January 2017 academy sessions.

An applicant may be denied a license if subjected to any of the following adjudications for the disqualifying offenses described
in the accompanying comments:  judgment of verdict of guilt;
judgment or verdict of guilty but mentally ill; plea of guilty; plea of nolo contendere; an order delaying sentence; probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act; probation for
first-time drug offenses under
MCL 333.7411; and probation for
first-time domestic violence offence under MCL 769.4a.

Disqualifying offenses include felony adjudications, felony expungement, or felony set aside under Michigan law or substantially corresponding laws of another jurisdiction.  Disqualifying offenses also include adjudications of guilt for violations or attempted violations of any of the following under Michigan law or substantially corresponding law of another jurisdiction: a penal law punishable by imprisonment of more than 1 year; MCL 257.625 (operating while intoxicated/drugged, 2nd offense within 7 years); MCL 333.7403(2)(c) (misdemeanor possession of drugs (except marijuana)), and MCL 333.7404(2)(a), (b), and (c) (misdemeanor use of drugs including 1yr use of marijuana);  MCL 750.81(4) (2nd offense DV); MCL 750.81a (A&B 1 year, and first offense DV 1 year); and MCL 750.411h (misdemeanor stalking).

Character Fitness

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. (all 50 states, DC, territories of the US, and Canada

May not be in a state of suspension or revocation.

Physical Ability

Be free from any physical defects
or chronic diseases which may impair the performance of a law enforcement officer or which may 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.


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. * 


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

Acuity may be corrected with glasses or contacts 

Vision, Normal Functions

Possess normal visual functions
in each eye.

Includes peripheral vision, depth perception, etc.

Reading and Writing
(Academy enrollment)

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

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

Physical Fitness
(Academy enrollment)

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.


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.


Agencies must fingerprint the applicant with a search of state
or federal fingerprint files to
disclose criminal record.
Academies require ICHAT
criminal record checks to the academy director.

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 517-636-7864 with any questions.