After a long vacancy in the office of Executive Director, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) has selected a new leader.

At its September 15, 2010 meeting in Garden City, the Commission appointed David L. Harvey as the agency’s newest Executive Director. Harvey will be responsible for a budget of $10 million and report to the seventeen- member Governor appointed Commission.

David Harvey grew up in Michigan. He has been associated with law enforcement since joining a police explorer program in Garden City when he was 15 years of age. After serving in the military, he joined the Garden City Police Department where he worked a full law enforcement career in which his five final years were as chief of police. Upon retirement, Harvey became the chief law enforcement officer of the Wayne County Airport Authority Division of Public Safety; however, he was soon recruited back to Garden City to become City Manager. He has remained in that position for the past six years.

Harvey was chosen from an original field of 84 nationally recruited candidates. The vetting process to arrive at the best candidate was grueling. During the Garden City meeting, veteran MCOLES observers commented that they could not remember a job search in which a candidate for this position was so rigorously scrutinized.

One of the key issues that the new leader of MCOLES will face is how to position the organization in a state government that is trying to adjust itself to a consistently austere fiscal climate. There is little doubt that every state agency will continue to be negatively impacted by the state’s shrinking revenue. The political climate in Lansing is changing too. This fall, we will see many new faces elected to leadership positions in state government. Over half of the House of Representatives will be replaced, and thirty of thirtyeight Senators will be newly elected. We will have a new Governor, a new Attorney General, and a new Secretary of State.

As a result, change will be the order of the day. I suspect that it will be driven as much by economics as by ideology. As state government reshapes and gets smaller, we must be vigilant to prevent the proverbial baby being thrown out with the bathwater. We cannot afford further erosion of programs that support law enforcement. During the past few years, we have seen public safety take a back seat to other causes. The most grievous evidence of this is seen in the continuing decline in the number of law enforcement officers employed across the state; however, we have also seen reduced dollars available for training through the Justice Training Fund. As new leadership takes hold at MCOLES and in state government, the Commission is determined to retain is original focus and mission to the officer on the street.