By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Michigan Association of Police (MAP) President Rich Heins is excited that MAP now has an official permanent seat on the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) and no longer has to wait to see whether or not the Governor will appoint someone from the union.

Heins was sworn in as an MCOLES Commissioner December 2016, the same month the legislature agreed to allow the various police organizations already serving on MCOLES permanent seats on the commission. He was re-sworn in January 2017 due to the new standards that were set for the commission.

“They mandated somebody from each organization, the labor and management side of it, so you get both sides of the coin when discussing issues,” Heins said.

Heins is taking over the remaining portion of MAP Executive Director Fred Timpner’s two-year term, which expires December 31, 2017, while Timpner focuses on legislative issues affecting MAP members.

“He wrote a letter of recommendation and the Governor’s office appointed me to fill his spot,” Heins said. “Fred knows that I was very interested in getting involved more with the union. I want to make sure (the union) maintains a say in what goes on, how employees and unions are treated.”

“I’ve been union president of Sterling Heights Police Officers Association for a long time and it’s near and dear to my heart,” Heins said. “I told him I’d be more than willing to put in the drive time - they meet in Lansing typically every other month.”

MCOLES is going through many changes, with new legislative standards and the executive director’s term expiring at the end of May. Going forward, Heins wants to make sure the focus remains on the unique circumstances of employees.

“I just want to make sure that employee groups have their voices heard,” Heins said. “I don’t want legislation that’s thrown in as a catch all and ignores individual rights.”

Heins gave the example of newer LEIN violation standards and how that impacts individual officers and ties the hands of the commission in a sense. “If you ... use (the LEIN system) inappropriately, and you’re convicted of a misdemeanor, the commission has to revoke your license as a police officer. I think Fred fought hard to soften that blow,” Heins said. “The legislation created this new standard for MCOLES to withdrawn their licenses. I don’t know what kind of extenuating circumstances could actually save someone’s job.”

While officers have a right to appeal the commission’s decision, Heins said, the commission needs to have more of a real say, from a labor perspective, to ensure individual rights are not being violated.

“You get fired because MCOLES pulls your license, which is over and above any discipline the department had already given you,” Heins said. “When you have a LEIN misuse that is a minor infraction, it still falls on the department that they misused LEIN and they have to show the State Police how they disciplined for that violation. Otherwise the state can pull your certification for LEIN. Well over and above that, you lose your license to be a police officer.”

To ensure fair treatment, Heins said, the jurisdiction in these cases should remain nameless and discipline should be based on facts alone. Previously, if there was a LEIN violation with a misdemeanor conviction, the case was brought before MCOLES and the commission would decide whether or not to revoke the license.

“Instead of throwing a blanket over everybody, I think it should be a case by case basis with no bias,” he said.

Heins said it’s also important to consider economics when setting new standards. He gave the example of mandating training standards at the shooting range.

“The staff at MCOLES gives you their findings after their legwork,” he said. “They’ll do what is ideal rather than what is practical. You can’t force municipalities that don’t have the economic means to provide that kind of training.”

Heins looks forward to sharing his ideas with the MCOLES staff and welcomes MAP members input at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.