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Licensing Standards for Michigan Law Enforcement Officers

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.

Printable copy of Licensing Standards for Michigan Law Enforcement Officers

MCOLES Policies and Procedures Manual






Not less than 18 years.

No maximum age.


United States Citizenship.

Birth Certificate; Certificate of Naturalization; Valid United States 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 with an "adjudication of guilt" for a violation or attempted violation of a penal law of this state or another jurisdiction that is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year (includes all felonies) will be denied a license.  An applicant with an "adjudication of guilt" for a violation or attempted violation of certain misdemeanors (listed in the accompanying comments) will also be denied a license.  

An "adjudication of guilt" includes a judgment or verdict of guilty, or guilty but mentally ill, following a trial or a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), even if the conviction was subsequently expunged, set aside or dismissed by virtue of a delayed sentence or diversion program.  This includes delayed sentences under MCL 771.1; adjudications in conjunction with assignment to the status of youthful trainee under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act; dismissals after probation for first-time drug offenses under MCL 333.7411; and dismissals under MCL 769.4a of first-time aggravated domestic violence offenses (MCL 750.81a(2)).

Disqualifying offenses include adjudications of guilt for a violation or attempted violation of a penal law of this state or another jurisdiction that is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year (includes all felonies).  Disqualifying offenses also include adjudications of guilt for violations or attempted violations of any of the following misdemeanors under Michigan law or substantially corresponding laws of another jurisdiction: 

Operating While Intoxicated, 2nd Offense (MCL 257.625(1),(8), (9)(b), (25)); 

Possession of Controlled Substances (MCL 333.7403(2)(c)) (does not include marijuana); 

Use of Controlled Substances (MCL 333.7404(2)(a), (b), or(c)); 

Domestic Violence, 2nd Offense (MCL 750.81(4)); 

Aggravated Assault (MCL 750.81a(1)), 

Aggravated Domestic Violence (MCL 750.81a(2)); and, 

Stalking (MCL 750.411h).

Character Fitness

Character fitness, as determined by a background investigation supported by a written authorization and release executed by the individual.

Includes arrest and expunged convictions, all previous law violations, personal protection orders, traffic and civil infractions and ordinance and code violations.

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 involving 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 Hertz; 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 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.

Acuity may be corrected with glasses or contacts.

Vision, Normal Functions

Possess normal visual functions in each eye.

Includes peripheral vision, depth perception, stereopsis, 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 Prior Training & Experience Program applicants.

Physical Fitness
(Academy enrollment)

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

Pre-enrollment testing is required for admittance to an approved basic training program.


Successfully complete the MCOLES mandatory basic training curriculum.

This may be done by successfully completing 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 mandatory basic training.

For Recognition of Prior Training and Experience Program (RPTE) candidates, successfully complete the RPTE Program and pass the licensing examination.


Employing agencies must fingerprint the applicant with a search of state and Federal fingerprint files to disclose criminal record, personal protection orders, mental health orders, firearms possession prohibitors, expungements and dismissals based on a diversion program. Academies require fingerprinting using the CHRISS system.


Oral Interview 

Conduct an oral interview to determine the applicant's suitability for a law enforcement officer position.


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.