The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards tries to hold one of its meetings in the U.P. or the northern Lower Peninsula each year. It held one such meeting today at Northern Michigan University.
“We oversee the hiring standards, the training standards we set,” MCOLES executive director David Harvey said. “To be a police officer in the state of Michigan, you have to meet all of our standards. Then you have the ability to be licensed as a police officer in the state of Michigan. It’s a license just like a nurse would have or anybody else.”
“It gives all of us U.P. law enforcement administrators an opportunity to not only listen to what’s going on and get updated, but to ask questions that we may have regarding all the changes that are constantly occurring in law enforcement standards,” Marquette County Sheriff Mike Lovelace said.
The presence of the Regional Police Academy at Northern Michigan University isn’t the only reason Sheriff Lovelace is pleased to see MCOLES meet on campus.
“The state of Michigan funnels their training dollars for law enforcement agencies through MCOLES, some of the grants,” he said. “Northern Michigan University has been extremely instrumental in making that (training) happen in the Upper Peninsula.”
Lovelace told MCOLES that staffing is a problem because the U.P. doesn’t have the high demand for officers that southeast Michigan has right now.
“The state is supplementing that section of the state,” he said. “We are not seeing any influx of new positions or more money (in the U.P.).”
Harvey says that when he was a police officer, he knew what the commission was, but he wasn’t aware of what it did.
“So, one of my personal objectives since I took over this role four years ago was to educate the field on who the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards is,” he said. “It has such a big impact on an officer’s career, they should know something about it.”
MCOLES has its next meeting on September 17th in a location to be determined.