An Oakley police car in Oakley, Mich., on March 14, 2014 .
Jeff Schrier—AP
By Josh Sanburn
April 17, 2015

A town in Michigan with a population of just 300 has roughly 150 police officers in an alleged “pay-to-play” scheme that allows reserve officers to get around the state’s gun restrictions.

The town of Oakley, Mich., has dozens of people apply to become cops in the tiny town, The Guardian reports, among them rapper Kid Rock, a football player for the Miami Dolphins, and various Michigan businessmen.

Those accepted to become reserve officers, who pay sums of up to $4,000 to join the force, are then authorized to carry firearms in places that generally ban them, like schools and bars. The Saginaw News reported that the law enforcement agency had raised almost $250,000 from 2008 to 2014.

The allegations are part of a lawsuit intended to make the Oakley police force more transparent. A lawyer involved in the case told the Guardian that all the reservists but one live at least 90 minutes drive from the town.

Reserve officers have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after the apparent accidental shooting of Eric Harris by Robert Bates, a 73-year-old volunteer deputy in Tulsa, Okla. Harris was shot and killed by Bates, who said he meant to use his Taser instead of his gun.


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