The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) has statutory responsibilities assigned under two Michigan laws. Public Act 203 of 1965, requires that the Commission prepare and publish mandatory minimum recruitment, selection and training standards for entry-level law enforcement officers in the state of Michigan. Public Act 203 also requires the Commission to define categories and classifications of in-service training to be received by Michigan law enforcement officers. The Commission sets these standards for traditional, municipal, county, and state agencies, as well as a variety of specialized agencies, such as tribal, railroad, airport, and park police. More than 600 law enforcement agencies that employ over 19,500 officers operate under Commission standards.
On August 30, 2001, under Executive Order 2001-5, Governor Engler created the "new Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards." The Executive Order consolidates the services of the former Michigan Justice Training Commission, provided under the authority of Public Act 302 of 1982, with those of MCOLES, effectively joining standards setting with funding. There are two primary responsibilities that the Commission will perform under Public Act 302. The Act creates the Michigan Justice Training Fund, for which the legislature makes an annual appropriation. The Commission is first charged with making annual distributions from this fund to eligible entities in what is referred to as the Law Enforcement Distribution. Second, the Commission must annually distribute the balance of the fund, after administrative costs have been deducted, in a competitive grant process.
Executive Order 2001-5 also created the 15-member Commission. The Commission is composed of representatives from law enforcement, criminal prosecution, and criminal defense. Three members of the Commission serve in an ex-officio capacity, holding their Commission seats by virtue of their office. They are: the Attorney General or designated representative; the Director of the Department of State Police or designated representative who is a Michigan State Police Officer; and the Chief of the Police Department located in a city with a population of more that 750,000, or the Chief's designated representative who is a command officer with that department.
On October 15, 2008, Governor Granholm issued Executive Order 2008-19. Joining the Commission is one representative from the Police Officers Labor Council and one representative from the Michigan Association of Police. One of the new members will be selected to an appointment term of one year while the other will receive an appointment to a two year term. Thereafter, successive appointments of these and all other appointed Commissioners will be to four year terms. The appointments took effect on December 28, 2008.
The remaining eleven members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, as follows:
- three (3) individuals selected from a list of six (6) active voting members submitted by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police or its successor organization;
- three (3) individuals selected from a list of six (6) elected sheriffs submitted by the Michigan Sheriffs' Association or its successor organization;
- one (1) individual selected from a list of three (3) individuals submitted by the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan or its successor organization;
- one (1) individual selected from a list of three (3) individuals submitted by the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan or its successor organization;
- one (1) individual selected from a list of three (3) individuals submitted by the Michigan State Police Troopers Association, or its successor organization;
- one (1) individual selected from a list of three (3) individuals submitted by the Michigan Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, or its successor organization; and
- one (1) individual selected from a list of three (3) individuals submitted by the Police Officers Association of Michigan, or its successor organization.
A staff, all who are located in Lansing offices, supports the Commission. MCOLES is organizationally situated within the state government as a division of the Michigan Department of State Police. The Commission meets on a regular schedule in various locations throughout the state. Members of the criminal justice community and the public are encouraged to attend. Public comment is welcome.