ISIS Cited as Michigan Village’s Police Push for Secrecy

The tiny village of Oakley, Michigan looks fairly unremarkable as you drive through it. Located along the M-52 highway, it consists of little more than a single traffic light, with a bar on one side and a gas station on the other. It’s a village of secrets, however, or so it would seem.

Oakley has 290 residents. They also have over 100 police, for some reason. Those police are also, more or less entirely anonymous.

Who those police are or what they are doing is a mystery, even to the village trustees, who say they don’t even have a proper list of their own of who all these people are, though they have been assured by the police chief that many of them have never even been to Oakley, and likely never will.

So what’s the game underpinning all this? There’ve been a series of lawsuits in recent years aiming to find out exactly that, leading the village to shut the police force down last month.

Here’s where it gets crazy. The village council shut the police down for not having any insurance, because they’re constantly getting sued. Days later, the police showed up again, announcing they’d bought their own insurance and didn’t need the village’s permission to continue to operate. They fund themselves through secret donations from secret benefactors. Weird, right?

Last week, after village council members filed a lawsuit, a judge finally ordered the police to shut down again. Days later, the council voted to finally respond to years of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and release the names of all those secret police. The list has yet to be released, and the council itself is waiting on the police chief to do that, since they don’t have any complete lists.

Today, letters showed up at the doors of the council members’ houses
, on the letterhead of a high profile Detroit lawyer. The letters demanded that they recind the decision and stop the release of the FOIA documents, insisting that the police had been promised anonymity, and claiming that ISIS, yes that ISIS, was a potential threat to the police if their names were made public.

The letter went on to warn that because everyone knows ISIS is a thing, and knows ISIS would want to get ahold of Oakley police, releasing their names would be a malicious act, one for which punitive damages could be awards.

  • Joe

    Uhmm couldn't they just see who they are sending paychecks to?

    • Mark

      Note they said they were being funded by "secret benefactors". They ought to have the Sheriff arrest anyone who poses as an Oakley cop based on "impersonating an officer". That should slow them down…unless the Sheriff is in on it too.

      • jasonditz

        Last month when they first unsuccessfully tried to shut the police down one of the trustees called the sheriff but he claimed it was just a "labor dispute" or something and refused to get involved.

    • steve

      It probably isn't about paychecks. It's exceedingly likely the Chief is making "reserve officers" so they can CCW firearms where normal citizens can't. He probably gets a kickback, now that he's being called on it, he's screaming about terrorism to delay getting caught.

    • JRO

      I think that's the point of the article. The City of Oakley doesn't know who is paying for these extra police officers. There's no way a city of that size could afford to budget a payroll for 100+ police officers.

  • paulBass

    secret torture prisons?

  • curmudgeonvt

    This has to be an Onion piece, right?

    • Yeah it had to be but it is not. What to do now? Any suggestion by you?

  • dave gore

    easy the sheriff is selling badges to a lot of wannabes and probably making a tidy profit.

  • Morey Soffo

    Just tried Googling Oakdale MI: no joy. First response is an Oakdale Recovery Center in Canton Twp on Michigan Ave (Rte 12) near Detroit. So, somebody is being trolled.

    • Ken C

      Or you could google Oakley, MI.

  • Jim

    Oakley, not Oakdale.

    • Morey Soffo

      Mea culpa. That's what I get for not waiting until my second cup to read.

  • steve

    If I was on the Village Council I would call the State Police and have that Police Chief in shackles. There's some crime being committed there. How can you have officers who have never been there and never will be? How can the Village Council not have the right to know who is an officer in the town they govern? How can you be funded through "secret benefactors" and have it be legal?

    • steve

      Okay, just read their 2013 Annual Police Report. The department is huge even with the reported officers. Threads on other websites strongly suspect that these people are "reserve Officers" which probably means they're buddies with the Chief and skirting CCW laws.

      • jasonditz

        note: the police chief of Oakley is also the police chief of Waterloo Township, Michigan, which is about 80 miles south. He also owns/operates a collections company called Due Process of Michigan.
        http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%20200810

        • steve

          hhhhhmmmmmmm……….

        • Bill Rood

          Nice work, Jason. I believe you're onto something. Keep pulling on those strings. They're probably using police credentials to intimidate alleged debtors and repossess property.

  • Mark

    It would seem the sheriff and the "police chief" are in cahoots. Last paragraph states the shyster that sent the cease and desist letter to the town council donated to the sheriff's last re-election bid at a fundraiser organized by the, then, police chief. Wow, talk about corrupt. http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2014/

  • K

    Sounds like the village needs to get the state police or FBI involved. This just sounds completely ridiculous. Also, if they’ve already dissolved the police department how does the chief have any authority to do anything at all? Couldn’t they call the state police and have him arrested for trespassing on city property and hire their own investigators to come in and sort through what paperwork exists?

    If the chief has any brains he’s already been shredding records like mad or carting them off in his briefcase.

  • Cathy

    There is a lot of this going around in rural Michigan. Google Barry and Eaton counties, and the constitutional sheriff movement. These are not groups trying to circumvent CCW laws. These are basically private armies being assembled to be answerable only to the sheriff/police chief, with the goal of resisting the state or US government in any attempt to enforce state or federal law. They say it is to keep Obama from confiscating their guns, but it is really about personal power and trying to control the populace. They are the epitome of the militarized police. Why does a county whose largest city has a population of barely 7000 need an MRAP and grenade launchers?

  • Brad

    Here is the background on this Oakley saga, beginning with a series of articles MLive published in March: http://topics.mlive.com/tag/oakley-lawsuits/posts-oldest.html

    This is the original source for the article above.

  • Truthseeker

    Can you spell MILITIA?

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  • Guest

    Get the Attorney General involved.

    • Guest

      The AG is too busy running for re election and schmoozing with the governor and hoping to throw his hat in the ring for gov when the sitting gov. is term limited.
      The AG doesn't have time to do AG work.

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  • Lame excuse

  • tired dog

    Are they all unpaid reserves? Does the appointment to this pd give statewide power and nationwide privilege? Is this a smaller version of Arpaio's 'posse'? I'd sure as hell like to know.

    • Guest

      YES, YES, Maybe (statewide it does), and most likely YES!

  • Sherif Gerorge

    Libertarianism at its purest, let the free market decide who is a cop through a public auction of badges. Was there a problem with the 'reserve' officers? It sounds like regular cops did not like the competition and are doing what they can to end the program. New York City has something called auxillary police, the reserve cops sound similar.

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  • guest

    In one breath the police chief states that the reserve officers have to attend a week long "training session" (most likely a week long booze and T&A chasing exercise away from the miss'us). And that they must donate 40 hours of volunteer time a month to the village. In the next breath he CLAIMS most have never been in the Village itself. How in the heck are they fulfilling the 40 hour volunteer time if they have never been inside the Village limits? Sounds like a bunch of made up B.S. by the chief and supported by his lap dog legal beagle to me.

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  • easy the sheriff is selling badges to a lot of wannabes and probably making a tidy profit.

  • easy the sheriff is selling badges to a lot of wannabes and probably making a tidy profit.