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Former police chief: Private police bills would bring “mercenary policing” to Michigan communities

Oct 6, 2017

The Republican majority leader in the Senate, Arlan Meekhof, has introduced legislation that would allow city police departments to contract with a private firm for police officers. They'd have all the authority and the protections given to public police officers. 

Reporter Jonathan Oosting wrote about the bill for the Detroit News. Senator Meekhof declined to say who wants this legislation, and since legislators have exempted their correspondence from the Freedom of Information Act, there’s no way to find out.

“The best police are local police,” said Bob Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and former Livonia police chief. “We wouldn’t want private police to start taking the place of public police.”

“There are some things you have to pay for, and professional police officers are one of those,” he said. He believes Michigan voters would agree, especially if they consider what he called the “appalling” lack of adequate requirements for becoming a police officer in a private agency.

Police must be transparent and accountable to the public, said Stevenson. “Who are you going to demand change from when you have a problem with a police agency that’s under contract whose offices are in North Carolina?”

Listen above for the full conversation.

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