You Don’t Need Law Enforcement Experience in Michigan To Be Sheriff; New Law Might Change That
It's always strange to me to vote for a regional law enforcement leader. Traditionally, Sheriff's are not just hired, or scrutinized for their experience, but rather voted on in general elections every year. There are some expectations, and requirements to run, but other than that, it's pretty wide open.
What's scary is, these law enforcement leaders AREN'T currently required to have ANY law enforcement experience at this time in Michigan. But a new law might change that soon.
Michigan State Representative Brian BeGole testified before the House Elections Committee on a play to ensure proper training for all county Sheriff's in the state.
"House bill 4981 would require candidates to be a licensed law enforcement officer or a certified corrections officer with at least five years of experience, unless they are currently serving as Sheriff."
Basically, if you don't meet the requirements when this law is enacted, you would be grandfathered in until the end of your term.
BeGole himself has 32 years experience in law enforcement, including six years as a sheriff.
"Cities, villages, and townships would not hire someone to serve as their police chief who is not a certified police officer, so why should a county be any different? The job comes with a lot of responsibility and liability with duties such as road patrol, 911 central dispatch, jail operations, homeland security and emergency management, animal control and more. These can involve life and death situations. It makes sense to have experience in these areas to reduce liability issues and ensure critical services will be effective and available for people."
This makes so much sense. In all seriousness, would you rather vote for the guy who has 7 years working at the local PD as a decorated officer... or Steve? (No offense to any actual officers named "Steve.")
"The current requirement is an accident waiting to happen, and my plan prevents unintended consequences that this could create."
The House Bill is still under consideration in the House Elections committee, but could be voted into law within the next year, should it pass through for a general vote.