Sheriff clarifies remarks
Thank you for publishing the article on “Local police agencies: the rules governing officers” (July/Downtown). As always, it was a thorough article. After reading through the article, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard would like to correct a few incorrect items. In regard to the first time he is quoted in the article, it would be more correct to say: “Yes, there are bad police officers, and they have to be held accountable for their actions. If there are 80 bad police officers out of the 800,000 in total that serve the country, that is a small percentage. However, this is not to minimize the bad actions of these individuals, but it has to be in context that the vast majority of police officers are doing the right thing and they need to be supported.” Later in the article, he is quoted as saying we are the one in the county with a training unit. That is incorrect. He said we were the only one in the county who staffs a full-time training unit of our size. Other agencies have training units, but they are not full-time, nor have the number of staff assigned to them. On how he is quoted on body cameras, he did not say we have to go through what is and wasn’t admissible, but rather, we have to go through what has to be redacted under FOIA for privacy protections. You have to have someone watch eight hours of video to determine what is releasable under the privacy laws. Further, he didn’t mention internal affairs in his statement on body cameras. He stated that any complaint of misconduct triggers holding the video footage, an investigation of the complaint is done, and then a release of the video and findings of the investigation is released. It is about keeping the focus on police misconduct, and it should not be used as a tool for voyeurism or as a way to violate the privacy of our citizens. As you know, police are being scrutinized every which way, and we want to make sure that sheriff’s statements are accurate and clear.
Megan E. Noland Director, Government Affairs Senior Advisor to the Sheriff
(Publisher note: As a courtesy to the sheriff, we are allowing his office to clarify his remarks but we are standing by our story.)