The Grand Valley State University Public Safety Liaison Committee ("Committee") is an oversight committee for the Grand Valley State University Department of Public Safety, created under the authority of Act 120 of the Public Acts of 1990 of the State of Michigan. The primary function of the Committee is to consider grievances by persons against police officers or the Department of Public Safety arising out of acts or omissions of such officers or the Department. The Committee may prepare and make recommendations concerning such grievances, including recommendations for disciplinary measures against a police officer who was found responsible for misconduct in the office. Such reports shall be submitted to the President of the University with a copy to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
A. Committee Members
The Committee will be comprised of individuals nominated and elected by the faculty, students, and staff of Grand Valley State University. Faculty representatives will be elected through the University Academic Senate, staff representatives through the Administrative/Professional Committee, and students through Student Senate. The Committee will include a minimum of two students, two members of faculty, and two members of staff who are neither members of faculty nor the Public Safety Department. No more than one person from the same University Department shall serve at the same time on the Committee. The Director of Public Safety will serve as an ex-officio and non-voting member. No representative shall serve on the Committee who has a supervisory or personal relationship with any officer or staff member of the Department of Public Safety.
B. Election of Committee Chairperson
The Committee shall elect a Chairperson from among the members of the Committee. The appointment shall take effect upon consent of the university President. The election shall take place during the Fall semester's meeting. The terms of office for the Chairperson shall be one year, but the Chairperson can serve up to the limits of tenure. The duties of the Chairperson are as follows:
Faculty and staff representatives will serve two-year terms except, initially one faculty and one staff member will serve one-year terms. Student representatives will serve one-year terms. No representative will serve for more than two consecutive terms with re-election through the representative's professional organization. Terms will run September 1 to August 31.
The Committee shall meet quarterly or as called by the Committee members. Business may be conducted with no less than 50% of the members present. A quorum of the members must be present to vote on grievances and to implement policy.
All grievances and reports made to the Committee pursuant to these procedures shall be treated confidentially by the Committee. Information about a grievance will not be released by committee members, except as specified in these procedures or pursuant to a proper request by a governmental agency with valid jurisdiction or pursuant to a valid court order or to his/her legal counsel.
The official records of the Committee will be maintained on file with the designated faculty representative.
Grievances about a police officer of the Department of Public Safety may be submitted to the Committee. The Department of Public Safety is required to advise the complainant(s) of the existence of the Committee. Typically, grievances should be reported within sixty (60) days after the alleged offense, but not more than one (1) year after the offense. The Committee retains the right to accept and address complaints reported more than one year after the offense.
B. Steps in the Grievance Process
1. Grievances should be presented in writing using the Committee's standard grievance form. The complainant can obtain a Formal Complaint Form from the Human Resources Department or the Department of Public Safety.
2. The complainant completes the form, listing the type of alleged offense, the name of the alleged offender, and specific facts about the alleged offense (e.g., time, date, location). The complainant must sign the Complaint Form.
3. The complainant files the written Complaint with the Human Resources Department or the Department of Public Safety. Grievances submitted to these Departments shall be promptly reported to the Committee.
4. The Public Safety Liaison Committee will convene to review the Complaint. The Committee will review the Complaint and the accompanying facts and circumstances to initially determine if the Complaint requires further investigation.
5. Wherein an investigation is required, the Public Safety Liaison Committee will either (i) refer the grievance to the director of Public Safety, or (ii) coordinate its own investigation. The complainant and the alleged offender will be notified and consulted regarding the Committee's decision, and when the complainant involves a student, the Dean of Students and other individuals will be notified as necessary.
C. Disposition of Grievances
a. The Committee may refer a grievance it has received directly from the complainant to the Director of Public Safety (the "Director"), who shall conduct an investigation and review, in accord with University policies and procedures. The Committee may supplement the referral with any specific suggestions, recommendations, or concerns it has with regard to the issues to be investigated.
b. At any time, the Committee may request, and the Director shall provide, an interim report on the progress of any investigation of a grievance. The report may be oral and/or in writing.
c. Upon completion of the investigation and review of a referred grievance, the Director shall report to the Committee. The report shall include a summary of the steps followed, the findings and conclusion, any actions taken, and an explanation for any unreasonable delays. The report may be oral and/or in writing. The Committee may accept the report as final, or it may ask the Director to investigate further and submit another report, or it may conduct a further investigation on its own.
2. Consideration by the Committee
The Committee may conduct its own hearings of any grievance submitted to it.
a. In conducting such hearing, the Committee may:
(i) Question any commanding officer believed to have any information relevant to the hearing, and such commanding officer will be required to meet with the Committee in a timely fashion and report on his or her conduct and the bases for any action taken or decisions reached; and
(ii) Question any officer believed to have information relevant to the hearing, and such officer will be required to meet with the Committee in a timely fashion, on terms that are consistent with the University's agreement with the Police Officers Labor Council.
(iii) The Committee, during its deliberations, may seek information from what ever sources it deems appropriate to allow the Committee to arrive at a conclusion.
b. If the Director of the Department of Public Safety objects to the hearing, the Director may register that objection to the Committee. If, after receiving the Committee's response the Director continues to object, the Director may appeal to the Vice President of Finance and Administration. If the Vice President supports the appeal, the matter shall be referred to the University President for a decision.
D. Committee Action
After the completion of the investigation of a grievance, the Committee:
1. May determine that no further action is warranted, and notify all affected persons of that decision.
2. Shall prepare a report containing a statement of the allegations, a list of alleged policy violations, and a statement of findings.
3. Shall report its findings and recommendations - including any recommendations for disciplinary measures against any officer of the Department of Public Safety - to the President of the University with a copy to the Vice President for Finance and Administration. No portion of any such report that contains confidential information provided to the Committee shall be made public. The University President shall review the report and advise the Committee of the disposition of the matter. A copy of the report and recommendation will be forwarded to the Director of Public Safety.
In the event any part of these procedures are found to be unenforceable and/or no longer binding due to changes in committee structure, policies of the University, or statute or judicial decisions, the balance shall remain in force until the new or modified procedures are ratified.
These procedures must be reviewed by the Office of University Counsel and approved by the University President. If the Committee proposes procedures, only the University President may accept or reject them.