The Attorney General’s Office and the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards want to know if Oakley is violating any rules governing the licensing of police officers, said a commission official. The central Michigan village, with 290 residents, has more than 100 police reserves.
David Harvey, executive director of the commission, declined to elaborate about the probe or what prompted it.
Earlier this month, The Detroit News reported the auxiliary officers donate so much money that they cover the $38,000 police budget and some other government expenses.
Their status as reserves allows them to bring their guns into no-weapon zones such as bars and ballparks, according to state law.
Critics accused the officers of trading donations for the looser weapon rules.
Police Chief Rob Reznick, who denied there’s any quid pro quo, said he has nothing to hide. “We welcome the investigation,” he said. “We will cooperate fully.”
Reznick also is the police chief of Waterloo Township in Jackson County, setting up a similar program where auxiliary officers donate money to the community. But Waterloo isn’t part of the probe, said Harvey.
Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette, declined to comment.
The identities of the reserves aren’t known. Most are well-off residents of Metro Detroit, including doctors, lawyers, pro athletes and “maybe” a famous rock musician, said Reznick.
In Oakley, the auxiliary officers are rarely seen, said residents. A trustee said 95 percent of them never set foot in the village.
Reznick said he needs so many in case of emergencies.
The reserves look like regular police. They have a badge, police ID, gun and uniform. They don’t have arrest power, mainly assisting the village’s 12 certified police officers, who are all part-time.
The reserves give $1,000 or $2,000 donations while some give more, said Reznick.
Other auxiliary officers, in lieu of money, provide services to the village, repairing government vehicles, doing electrical work or helping renovate the village hall.
Since 2008, the reserves have donated $150,000 to the village, said town officials.
In Waterloo, where Reznick became chief in March, the officers have donated $55,000 and a $45,000 Chevrolet Tahoe. The township has 15 reserves.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140724/METRO08/307240038#ixzz38QC2xbXt