Jones sponsoring police academy background check bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has turned in legislation that would allow the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) to receive background check information on individuals entering police training academy.

“This is of the upmost importance in our efforts in having only the best men and women in law enforcement to protect and serve all Michigan residents,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “A background check on all prospective law enforcement officers is vitally important. It is about building public trust and ensuring that we are not teaching firearms training to violent offenders.”

Currently, MCOLES does not have authority to gain information from the Michigan State Police (MSP) on fingerprints submitted for a criminal history record information check by persons wanting to enter a preservice college basic law enforcement training academy or a regional basic law enforcement training academy.

Senate Bill 524 would allow MCOLES to have the MSP conduct fingerprint background checks of applicants to law enforcement training academies through the MSP system and through the FBI.

“The fact that we are not already doing this is a shocking flaw in the system, and it needs to be corrected immediately,” said Jones. “I want to thank MCOLES for coming to me to fix this problem. With the support of state police, my goal is to have this done before the next police academies start this fall.”

Jones, a former Eaton County sheriff, has also worked to help ensure that Michigan has good and honorable law enforcement officers. In March, the Senate approved Senate Bill 223, which would require that a police officer’s bad behavior would not be hidden by that officer’s resignation.

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Jones seeks to clarify law concerning traffic light outages

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — What happens to an intersection when the traffic light goes out? It becomes a four-way stop, right? Wrong, says Sen. Rick Jones.

“People need to know exactly what to do if a traffic light is out,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Although most Michigan drivers believe that an intersection with a nonworking traffic signal becomes a four-way stop, that is not actually true in our state. The current law is very confusing and needs to be made clearer so that all drivers are on the same page.”

Under current Michigan law, drivers should treat each intersection with a downed traffic light as a four-way yield rather than a four-way stop. If two vehicles enter an intersection on different roads at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way and the vehicle on the left should yield.

Jones has introduced Senate Bill 521 to require drivers to treat intersections where a traffic signal is malfunctioning as a four-way stop.

The legislation would not apply to traffic lights that are only active during certain periods, such as signals outside of a school or a fire department.

“This is about ensuring our roads are as safe as possible, especially during power outages after a storm,” Jones said. “Treating all intersections as a four-way stop if the signal is out might slow traffic a bit on major roads, but if it can help save lives, it’s worth it.”

The Michigan State Police support the bill.