They carry a gun, a badge and wear a uniform, they are not police officers.

I had no idea that Michigan has a strong force of reserve officers that assist our certificated police officers.  The Detroit Free Press looked closely at Michigan's reserve officers. According to the article...

Across Michigan, police departments have enlisted civilians to work alongside licensed officers to patrol communities and even assist real cops with arrests. But unlike the regular officers licensed by the state, these armed civilians are unregulated.

A Detroit Free Press investigation also discovered that ...

  • There are no state-established training requirements for reserve officers
  • No standards for screening their qualifications
  • No process for monitoring their conduct
  • The state agency responsible for police licensing and training is not regulating reserve officers.
  • The State agency has no idea how many such unlicensed volunteers there are statewide.

Because reserve officers are an asset in our communities in so many ways, (crowd control, traffic control and helping a police officer when on patrol). Many think it is important that the reserve officers be fully trained for their own safety as well as the communities.

The law granting authority the Michigan Commission on Law (MCOLES) was put in charge of regulating reserve cops, that order went into Jan. 2, 2017. But it has not been a smooth road.

 MCOLES officials say they have been deluged by other responsibilities, including doing a lengthy analysis of the work licensed cops across Michigan are performing and looking into standards for school resource officers. MCOLES also has a budget that has been chopped dramatically over the years.

MOCOLES stated that they want to set standards and rules for reserve officers, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

In Kalamazoo we have 69 reserve officers working and in Emmett Township we have 8 giving their time. I hope we keep them safe in the months to come!

More From WKFR