Supporting our police officers

Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe and respond in times of crisis. Sadly, many of these brave men and women never return home.

To salute the dedication and sacrifice of law enforcement officers and their families, in 1962 Congress established May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week on which it falls as National Police Week. It is a time for communities across the country to honor and remember the officers who were killed in the line of duty.

This year, the names of 252 officers will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in our nation’s capital. The newly engraved names include those of the 123 officers killed in 2015 and an additional 129 officers who died in previous years. Over the years, Berrien County has lost seven officers in the line of duty and Cass County has lost two officers.

With National Police Week approaching, the Michigan Senate recently approved a second set of bills to improve oversight and uniformity for Michigan’s law enforcement officers.

Senate Bills 866-869 are companion measures to previously approved legislation sponsored by Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker and Margaret O’Brien. Those bills, SBs 92-96, would update the statutes governing the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), which is responsible for overseeing the licensing and training of law enforcement officers in Michigan.

The combined legislative package is about ensuring that police officers in Michigan are held to the highest standards and are properly trained and qualified to protect the public. This will benefit both our officers and the people.

MCOLES is currently governed by a variety of statutes and executive orders. The bills would codify the current commission, create clarity and consistency and allow the commission to set minimum standards for reserve officers.

Our law enforcement officers serve and protect the residents of Michigan. The national memorial in Washington D.C. and the Law Enforcement Memorial in St. Joseph are reminders that their work is often dangerous and too often ends in tragedy.

Remembering our fallen officers is a great reminder of how blessed we are to have such amazing and selfless officers here in Michigan. I encourage residents to thank our outstanding law enforcement officers for all they do to make our state and communities safe.

 

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents Southwest Michigan.

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