Bills improving public safety signed into law

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LANSING, Mich. — A package of bills that would improve oversight and uniformity for Michigan’s law enforcement officers was signed into law by Gov. Snyder on Tuesday.

Senate Bills 92-94 will update the statutes governing the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) — the entity responsible for overseeing the licensing and training of more than 19,000 law enforcement officers across Michigan.

“Our law enforcement officers go out every day to perform a difficult and dangerous job,” said state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, the leading sponsor of the bills. “This legislation will ensure that officers are held to the highest standards and are properly trained and qualified to protect the public.”

“Putting a consistent set of guidelines that all full-time and reserve officers must follow in statute is beneficial to both the law enforcement community and to the residents of Michigan,” added Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of SBs 95 and 96. “Our law enforcement officers serve and protect, and these guidelines hold our officers to the level of integrity and professionalism our communities expect.”

MCOLES is currently governed by a variety of statutes and executive orders that have been updated in a piecemeal fashion for many years. The bills will codify the current commission and create clarity and consistency.

“Senate  Bills 92, 93, and 94 are the most significant and positive changes to the MCOLES statutes since their inception in 1965,” said MCOLES Executive Director Dave Harvey. “This legislation will increase the professionalism of law enforcement officers across the entire state of Michigan. The commission is very grateful for the senator’s continued support of law enforcement and her diligence and hard work in sponsoring this important legislation.”

The legislation would also allow MCOLES to set minimum standards for reserve officers for the first time.

“This package of bills guarantees that our officers receive the best training available, not just initial training at an academy, but continuous training throughout their careers,” Schuitmaker said. “It improves oversight and accountability, so that when officers do act irresponsibly they can be held accountable.

“This package of bills will simply allow MCOLES to establish minimum standards for reserve officers in Michigan.”

Schuitmaker has been working for a number of years with MCOLES and other interested parties to advance the legislation. All of the bills were signed by Gov. Snyder and will take effect 90 days after they were signed.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com/photowire.

Photo caption: Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, stands for a photo with representatives from the law enforcement community, fellow legislators and staff after Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bills 92-94 into law.