Legislation in Lansing would prohibit the use of volunteer law enforcement

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – State Representative Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) reintroduced legislation that would prohibit the use of volunteer law enforcement in police and sheriff departments, as well as the department of public safety.

House Bill 4874 would define a volunteer law enforcement officer as “an individual who is a member of a law enforcement department but is not licensed under the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act.

Several communities in Michigan, including Ingham County, have already taken steps to ban or regulate volunteer law enforcement.

As volunteer officers aren’t licensed by the MI Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, they receive less training than licensed officers.

“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,” said Anthony in a press release. “This is a practical reform that brings us one step closer to ensuring our laws are being enforced in a fair and just manner.”

As of 2018, Michigan had 3,000 unlicensed volunteers serving a wide variety of roles.

“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,” said the press release.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee awaiting a hearing.

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