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If police chiefs won't stop 'traveling cops,' state rep. says tougher laws needed

Not all police departments follow rules meant to flag bad officer behavior
Rep. Carter
Posted at 4:27 PM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-29 18:57:23-04

(WXYZ) — Current and former Lansing lawmakers say tougher legislation may be necessary to crack down on problem officers who travel from one department to another.

The comments follow a 7 Action News investigation revealing how one officer who spent time in four different police agencies racked up egregious allegations of misconduct, but had no trouble finding agencies to hire him.

VIDEO: How a troubled Michigan cop moved from department to department, leaving scandal in his wake:

How a troubled Michigan cop moved from department to department, leaving scandal in his wake

“Once I saw the story, it just reconfirmed what I’ve been trying to do,” said Rep. Tyrone Carter, a Detroit Democrat who has pushed for police reform legislation. “It’s disturbing and it’s gone on for far too long.”

Throughout his career, officer Mark Aldrich would be accused of dishonesty, road rage, engaging in sex acts with a woman he’d arrested and destroying evidence. He was hired by police departments in Belleville, Huron Township, Carleton and, most recently, Lake Orion.

“My job is to protect good officers from bad officers, and also protect taxpayers from bad officers,” Carter said, who spent years working for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

“If you know that you’re going to hire a person with a checkered background, then the liability is really on you.”

In 2020, Carter introduced legislation that would have created a statewide database tracking police misconduct. The goal, he said, was to make it easier for departments to know exactly who they were hiring.

“There needs to be that level of credibility that has eroded over time. We have an opportunity to get some of that back,” he said.

RELATED: Conduct Unbecoming: Detroit's Troubled Officers

But the bill stalled over concerns that a database might be too tedious to maintain for departments. Carter says he’s preparing to re-introduce the legislation soon.

But before any new laws are passed, say police watchdogs, some police chiefs may want to start following the laws already on the books right now.

When a police officer separates from an agency today, his or her department is required to report how they left. Police departments are required to say whether an officer leaves in good standing, while under investigation, under criminal charges or in lieu of termination.

In Aldrich’s case, he left as Carleton’s police chief said he suspected him of deleting body camera footage from a complaint filed against him.

But Chief Roy Johnson stopped investigating because Aldrich resigned and reported to MCOLES—the commission that licenses officers—that he left in good standing.

It was a similar story with Detroit Police Officer Kairy Roberts, seen punching a man without justification back in the summer of 2021.

Roberts was later deemed not truthful with investigators, so DPD prepared to fire him.

But while he was under investigation, Roberts resigned to take a job with another agencey, and DPD incorrectly reported that he left in “good standing.”

That made it easier for officials with Eastpointe Police to hire him.

RELATED: State suspends ‘Greektown punch’ officer who avoided firing by joining Eastpointe PD

Rick Jones, a former state senator who wrote the legislation that now governs how officers are hired in Michigan, said he would support strengthening the current law.

“If an officer that has knowingly assaulted a citizen isn’t held accountable, the next department that hires him has all sorts of liability, (along with) the chief or the sheriff or post commander who said he did nothing wrong,” Jones said.

After Mark Aldrich left Carleton’s police department, he was hired in Lake Orion where Chief Todd Stanfield declared—under the penalty of perjury—that he had reviewed Aldrich’s personnel file from Carleton.

But, by phone, Aldrich confirmed he never reviewed the file.

While former Senator Jones isn’t familiar with the details of Aldrich’s hiring, he says any chief who cut corners during the hiring process needs to be held accountable.

“If a chief doesn’t follow the law, should there be a penalty? Yes,” he said.

 “The chief is not only following the law, the chief is opening up his city or his county toall sorts of liability from lawsuits.”

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at or at (248) 827-9466.