STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Community that is Michigan State University provides for its citizens options for the redress of grievances against the actions of its law enforcement officers. Among these are the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Discrimination Judicial Board, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services*, and the MSU Police Oversight Committee.
The Oversight Committee is unique in that it is a legislative creation (Public Act 120) by resolution of the Board of Trustees, whose sole purpose is to receive and address grievances by persons against the Police Officers or the Police Department and may make recommendations to the Police Chief that disciplinary measures be taken by the Department against any Police Officer who is found responsible for misconduct in office.
The Oversight Committee is an impartial body through which any citizen can make a complaint about the actions of an MSU Police Officer. The Committee will review the investigation of complaints received to ensure that responsible procedures have been followed and actions are taken in a timely manner, when warranted.
The Oversight Committee recognizes the responsibility of the Police Department to safeguard the rights of all citizens, faculty, staff and students. The Committee will deal only with concerns about police conduct and Department policy. The Committee has no power to change or modify state law, University Ordinance, contracts with duly recognized bargaining units, or Department policies and procedures. If in the judgment of the Committee, changes in policies or procedures are necessary, it is the responsibility of the Committee to recommend such to the appropriate body.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE
The Oversight Committee shall consist of three representatives of the faculty, two representatives of the staff, three representatives from the currently enrolled student body, and an Ex-Officio from the MSU Police Department.
TERM OF MEMBERSHIP
The term of Committee membership for faculty representatives shall be two years; the term of Committee membership for staff representatives shall be two years; the term of Committee membership for currently enrolled student representatives shall be one year.
METHOD OF SOLICITING MEMBERS
The Office of Academic Governance is responsible for soliciting faculty member and conducting elections. The Coalition of Labor Organizations at MSU is responsible for soliciting members and appointing staff representation. ASMSU, RHA and COGS are responsible for soliciting members and conducting elections for student representation. A faculty member representative will be selected Chairperson, by a simple majority vote of the committee, at the start of each academic year.
Citizens who wish to file a complaint with the Oversight Committee may do so by mail or by phone. Complaints submitted to the Oversight Committee (or individual Committee Members) will be forwarded to the Chairperson within 72 hours. Complaints credible in nature will require the Chairperson to contact the complainant to confirm the details of the complaint, and subsequently notify and forward the complaint to all Committee members. The committee will then have an opportunity to provide the police department with questions they would like answered in the process of investigating the complaint. Upon completion of the citizen complaint investigatory process, which is conducted by the MSU Police Department, the Ex-Officio member will forward all relevant case files to the Chairperson who will convene a meeting of all available Committee members. The Committee will review the MSU police investigation and assess whether responsible procedures have been followed. The Committee may make recommendations to the Police Chief regarding the process, outcome, or disciplinary actions taken by the Department. A summary report of the Committee’s findings and recommendations will be prepared by the Chairperson and provided to the complainant.
In addition, at least once during the fall and spring semesters, the Chairperson shall meet with the Ex-Officio member to review internal investigations conducted by the Department regarding complaints not filed directly with the Oversight Committee. The Chairperson may then call a meeting to discuss the outcomes of those investigations and render recommendations to the Police Chief.
Each May, an annual report shall be authored by the Chairperson of the Committee. The report shall summarize the activities of the Committee for the past year, to be submitted to the Police Chief.
If and when disagreements arise as to the conduct of the meetings of the Committee, Roberts Rules of Order shall prevail.
The Chairperson will solicit a fellow Committee member to record the minutes of the meetings. The minutes will be submitted to the Chairperson within 15 days after the meeting for review and distributed to all Committee members.
THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE LOG BOOK
Complaints submitted to the Oversight Committee shall be logged in a permanent “Log Book.” Each entry shall contain a brief description of the action complained of, and if possible, the identification of the officer(s) involved as well as the complaint. The logbook will be maintained by the Chairperson and include copies of any recommendations made by the committee, which were sent to the MSU Police Department. In addition, all meeting minutes will be appended to the log book.
Discussions of any complaint brought against the MSUPD or any of its employees is specifically restricted to Committee members.
ADOPTING OR CHANGING POLICIES
Existing policies and/or procedures of the Committee may be altered, amended or deleted by a simple majority vote of the Committee.
New policies or procedures of the Committee shall be adopted by a simple majority vote of the Committee.
No member of the Committee will make any press releases without the express consent of the Committee Chairperson. Any and all such press releases will be approved by the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Communications and Brand Strategy* or his/her designee.
All requests made of Committee members for interviews of any type relating to the Oversight Committee shall be routed through and approved by the Committee Chair. Only questions dealing in general with the Committee, its membership, and its function within the Community will be accepted. Specific cases will not be discussed.
“FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT” REQUESTS
Any requests made of the Committee for information specific to any record, correspondence, document, policy or procedure shall be accommodated using the regular procedures of the University’s FOIA Office.
*University department titles changed to reflect current offices managing this committee