They look like cops, but they're not. And they're all over Michigan.

Across Michigan, police departments have enlisted civilians to work alongside licensed officers to patrol communities and even assist real cops with arrests. But unlike the regular officers licensed by the state, these armed civilians are unregulated.

A Detroit Free Press investigation found there are no state-established training requirements for reserve officers, as they are commonly known; no standards for screening their qualifications, and no process for monitoring their conduct. The state agency responsible for police licensing and training is not regulating reserve officers — despite gaining authority last year to do just that — and has no idea how many such unlicensed volunteers there are statewide.

This lack of oversight continues despite numerous incidents of questionable — even illegal — conduct by reserve officers in recent years.