House panel OKs Jones’ police ‘bad behavior’ bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to ensure that a police officer’s bad behavior will not be hidden by that officer’s resignation.

“Having the trust of the community is vital for effective law enforcement,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Although the vast majority of police officers and sheriff deputies in Michigan are outstanding public servants, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the public’s trust.

“I want to thank the committee for moving this important legislation, and I look forward to seeing the House pass this bill and help law enforcement improve community trust by ensuring that bad behavior by officers is not tolerated.”

Senate Bill 223 would require a law enforcement agency to maintain a record regarding the reason for and the circumstances surrounding a separation of service from a police department.

The bill would allow a prospective employing law enforcement agency to seek a copy of reasons and circumstances surrounding the separation.

Jones worked on the legislation after learning that an Eaton County sheriff deputy, who was accused of making an “abusive and improper arrest” in 2014, resigned and got a job with another sheriff’s department.

In a 2016 article, a reporter described how he obtained video of a June 2014 traffic stop through the Freedom of Information Act. The young man who was stopped recorded the incident with his cell phone.

The article described how the man was stopped for having a tail light out and then an “abusive and improper arrest” was made. After the video surfaced, the man was released from jail and was not charged by the prosecutor.

SB 223 now heads to the full House for consideration.