Mich. senators drafting bill to require chief certification - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Mich. senators drafting bill to require Detroit chief police certification

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A Detroit police cruiser A Detroit police cruiser
(WJBK) -

Two Michigan senators are drafting a bill that would require the Detroit police chief to be a certified police officer. The movement comes shortly after it was made aware that the current chief, James Craig, does not have his certification.

"My initial reaction was outrage," shares Senator Virgil Smith. "If you don't have arrest authority that's a problem if you're police chief; how are you going to lead your troops?"

The news that Craig is not a certified police officer was made aware last week after Craig was almost a victim of a carjacking, and he couldn't make an arrest because he wasn't certified.

State senators Virgil Smith and Coleman Young Jr. are working on legislation that would require police chiefs to become certified as an officer with MCOLES, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

Chief Craig was unavailable for an interview Thursday but basically made it known through his people that e believes it is important to be certified, and, although right now it's not required to be certified as a chief, he does plan to become certified. In fact he's already started the process.

But we still don't know why Chief Craig let his certification lapse.

Craig is a veteran police officer with 36 years under his belt. He started work in Detroit and went to Los Angeles, Portland and Cincinnati, where he became chief. Reportedly, as the chief, he tried to be waived from taking the officer certification test and when he was denied, he sued.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, who was a former Detroit Police Chief, doesn't think becoming a certified officer is necessary to be a police chief.

"Do you think it impact the job he does? No absolutely "The fact that he's certified or not certified is insignificant. He runs the agency," Napoleon told Fox 2.

MCOLES has not taken a position on the issues.

The details of the bill are still being worked out before it is officially introduced.

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