A week and a half ago, I blogged about an ongoing story in Oakley, Michigan, which is not that far from here and which I’ve been keeping an eye on. People are apparently picking up the story now outside of the local news, and it’s getting some new info.
For those who don’t remember, the village has 290 people and a massive police department that is funded through secret “donations.” The names of the police are a secret, including from the village government, and when they approved the release of the names, police claimed ISIS might kill the police if they knew who they were.
Vocativ has a great piece on it now, which includes an admission from the village’s part-time police chief Robert Reznick that the ISIS threat might be “far-fetched,” but that that “doesn’t matter” and that the names should remain secret.
Reznick all but admits that he’s selling badges in a money-making scheme, but insists that it’s not illegal, and that the village needs the money. The Vocativ report includes claims that not only are people buying badges for the higher-end gun permit, but because they can use it to access police records in a way that civilians could not. The number of police is still unknown, but is believed to be at least 100.
The village council has shut the police down, and the courts have finally ordered them to stay shut down, at least until next week’s election installs a new council which could restore them. The council has also requested the police to return all their equipment, which they’ve refused to do, and which has led the council to asking the Michigan State Police to try to recover the property “stolen” by former police.
Yet the village has no record of what all that property consists of, let alone who these former police are, so the request to recover the gear is an exercise in futility, and will likely remain unresolved while the state investigates the department for selling badges and decides whether or not that’s actually something anyone can just do.