The Michigan House of Representatives reintroduced a bill that would prohibit the use of volunteers in police and sheriff departments, the department of public safety and other agencies.
House Bill 4874, also known as the “prohibition of volunteer law enforcement act,” applies to unpaid individuals not licensed by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and who are not working in a clerical or secretarial position within a law enforcement agency.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), said that the bill will ensure that all law enforcement officers in the state are equally certified and trained to the same standards.
“Our constituents should be able to trust that members of law enforcement have been licensed by the state and trained in industry standards, and quite frankly, without this legislation our residents and volunteer officers in put in dangerous situations. This is a practical reform that brings us one step closer to ensuring our laws are being enforced in a fair and just manner,” Anthony said in a press release.
According to WLNS, Michigan had 3,000 unlicensed volunteers working in a variety of roles as of 2018.
Meanwhile, organizations responsible for law enforcement training and certification in other states have taken steps to train their volunteer or reserve officers. So far, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards has not followed suit.
The press release wrote, “Several other states have already implemented some form of standards for reserve officers, while the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards has not taken action to implement licensing or training standards for these individuals.”
The bill is currently awaiting a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.