Policy: Detention on a Non-Criminal Court Order


The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for detaining persons pursuant to public health codes or similar legislation related to non-criminal matters.


It shall be the policy of the Michigan State University Police Department (Department) that orders received from competent courts of jurisdiction for non-criminal matters shall be enforced pursuant to the procedures outlined here.


Detention: The temporary movement deprivation of an individual by a law enforcement officer pursuant to legal authority.


Michigan Statutes Affecting Detention of Non-Criminals

Provide that the local health official can file an affidavit in Circuit Court to order an individual posing a threat to the health and safety of the public, due to a communicable disease or illness, into custody and transport them to the appropriate care facility.

This court order is sought in order to protect the public health in an emergency

The statutes also provide that the local health official can also order quarantine for an entire area, if those present pose a significant health threat.

These orders will be disseminated to local police officials for enforcement and operate similar to arrest powers.

Situations Requiring Detention of Persons

Public Health Emergencies

Michigan State University is required to comply with directives from local public health officials tasked with managing public health related incidents.

The Ingham County Public Health Department is the lead agency in this county for all incidents impacting the health and general welfare of our community; and pursuant to that duty have the ability to petition the Circuit Court for Ex Parte orders for transport and/or temporary detention.

Those orders include public health emergencies where the continued presence of those persons in the population can pose significant health risks, i.e., highly contagious diseases, novel strains of influenza, etc.

The purpose of the order is to allow medical professionals to observe, examine, test, diagnose and/or treat those infected by a communicable disease.

Emergency first responders, including emergency medical service providers and police officers, do not have the authority to force treatment on individuals for public health communicable diseases without a court order obtained by a public health department.

Detention orders can also be issued to enforce a quarantine of persons suspected of illness and this Department shall be tasked with enforcing those court orders within our own jurisdiction.

That could include placing members of the MSU community into a designated facility and the Department providing security at that location.

Without an order from a competent court of jurisdiction, persons shall not be forced to remain nor be detained by officers unless another statute or ordinance can be invoked to take the person into custody.

Protective Custody for Incapacitated Subjects

An individual who appears to be incapacitated in a public place shall be taken into protective custody by a law enforcement officer based on Michigan law; or similar legislation.

Once an officer takes a person into protective custody, they are to notify the person they are not under arrest and transfer their care to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel.

The officer shall inform EMS personnel that the officer is detaining the patient for protective custody based on applicable law.

Once the emergency medical response person has been informed of the detention, the officer shall inform EMS personnel that protective custody is being transferred to them for transport and treatment.

An EMS unit or staff shall provide transportation when requested by a law enforcement officer; when the officer believes the person poses a risk to their own health or safety as outlined in Michigan law or similar legislation.

Once that transfer has been completed, the officer is no longer responsible for that individual.

Officers shall ensure that the person meets the requirements of the statutes and rules before taking them into protective custody.

Police Reporting

All of the actions taken pursuant to this policy shall be properly documented in an appropriate police reporting mechanism.