HomeLocal NewsAre Police Reports Public Record In Michigan? A Must-Read

Are Police Reports Public Record In Michigan? A Must-Read

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How do people conduct background checks, or are police reports public record in Michigan? These questions are crucial if you want to run a background check to know if the person you’re dealing with has a criminal record. 

Police records capture information about individuals who have had encounters with law enforcement. The information contained in a police record includes arrests and convictions. You won’t find information on court documents in police records in Michigan.   

Here, we discussed the availability of police reports to the public in Michigan and other critical information about the subject. Keep reading for more details. 

Are Police Reports Public Record In Michigan?

Yes, some police reports are public records in Michigan, and you can access them with a simple online search, except a specific criminal report has been suppressed. Once a record is suppressed, you cannot access it via a simple search. 

Michigan law states that all law enforcement, including government agencies, must provide reports of felonies and other serious misdemeanors to the state’s ICHAT system. The ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool) is an online database designed to give access to people searching for criminal records by name. 

Therefore, police reports in Michigan are available to the public. Anyone can use a person’s name to search if someone has a criminal record in the state. 

On the other hand, there are certain types of records searchers cannot access. Check them out below. 

  • Tribal records
  • Federal records
  • Juvenile records
  • Traffic records
  • Local misdemeanors
  • Criminal history from other states

Note that if the criminal records you’re searching for don’t fall into any of the above categories, you can access the information you seek online. 

A Handy Tip: A serious misdemeanor implies criminal activities punishable by over 93 days.  

In Michigan, there are exemptions for public records requests. The state’s public information law boasts exemptions, which include the governor’s office and records belonging to influential individuals like legislature members.  

How To Obtain A Person’s Criminal Record In Michigan

You can obtain an individual’s criminal records online and offline in Michigan. The state has provided various means of accessing these records to help individuals and organizations run background checks on people before engaging them. 

Here are the different ways to obtain people’s criminal records in Michigan. 

1: Obtaining people’s criminal records online:

You can find out if someone has a criminal record by searching a few government websites. Two examples include Michigan OTIS (Offender Tracking Information System) and ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool).

Here is how to obtain criminal records of people from both websites. 

Michigan OTIS: This online directory lets you find information about any individual who has been or is currently under the Michigan Department of Correction (MDOC) supervision. 

The Michigan OTIS only contains information on people who have been under the MDOC’s supervision within the last three years. You’ll find information on individuals who were or are still incarcerated, on parole, or on probation. 

The first step to accessing criminal records on the OTIS is to accept the terms and conditions when you visit the website. Then, you can search for individuals using their names (first and last name) and age. 

One unique thing about the OTIS is the option to search for people’s criminal records via scars, marks, or tattoos. 

Every person the Michigan Department of Corrections has supervised or is supervising has a unique number. Therefore, if you have the person’s MDOC number, you can enter it into the system to get access to their criminal records quickly. 

OTIS provides information on inmate release dates, making it a vital platform for families whose loved ones are under MDOC’s supervision. You can learn your relatives or friends’ release dates from the website and plan how to welcome them back once released.  

Michigan ICHAT: 

If you’re running a background check on someone and want to know if the person has a criminal record, ICHAT is the right place to conduct  your search. 

You can access important information about people on this platform. It gives you access to Michigan state records via a prison background check. 

The ICHAT helps provide records of people who have serious misdemeanor or felony convictions in the state. 

Furthermore, you can search for information on the Michigan ICHAT in diverse ways. Check them out below:

  • Billed user
  • Guest user
  • Charitable user
  • Government user
  • Pay-as-you-go user

A Handy Tip: Access to criminal records on ICHAT isn’t free. The platform is only free when a user searches on behalf of a not-for-profit charitable organization or government institution. The platform will let you conduct a free criminal background history check if you’re a user in these categories. 

You have to pay a certain fee if you’re accessing ICHAT as a different user or conducting a search for a different institution. You can pay online via debit or credit cards. Payment options include Visa, Discover, and MasterCard. 

The fee to access information on ICHAT stands at $10 per search.    

On the ICHAT search page, you can search for information using diverse fields. 

  • The person’s first name
  • The person’s last name
  • Other names/aliases (optional)
  • The person’s race (optional)
  • The person’s date of birth
  • The person’s gender (optional)
  • The State Identification (SID) Criminal Record number (optional)

You can find information on recent arrests in the state and other older records (felonies and serious misdemeanors) on the ICHAT platform. The platform also provides tutorials to help requesters understand how to look for information.  

3: Obtaining people’s criminal records offline:

Suppose you want to search for an individual’s record using a fingerprint to clear doubt about the person’s criminal history. How will you go about this? In this scenario, you need to obtain the fingerprint form from the local law enforcement agency. 

Once you have the fingerprint details, mail it on a non-criminal card (RI-8) to the Criminal Justice Information Center. The main aim of sending the fingerprint details here is to request a match.    

This procedure of obtaining people’s criminal records via fingerprint is simple. But it also entails a simple process requesters must follow. For instance, you can’t just send the fingerprint details of the person for a match-up. You must include a cover letter stating the reason for requesting criminal records or running a prison background check on an individual. 

According to the Michigan State Police, fingerprint searches can only be conducted when ordered. And they are done via a state or federal statute, rule or executive order. Your request will proceed faster if placed under any of these conditions. 

A Handy Tip: In some instances, offenders can conduct fingerprint background checks on themselves to expunge their records. But for this purpose, the requester would need the RI-030 Live Scan Fingerprint Background Check Request form. You can contact a Live Scan Vendor for payment of the fee and kick-start the process. The Live Scan Vendors are everywhere; it doesn’t matter where you live.   

Information You Will Find On A Michigan Criminal Record

A person’s criminal history record contains detailed reports about their encounter with law enforcement. The records are obtained from diverse sources, including arrests, convictions and incarcerations within Michigan’s four prisons. 

You can get hold of a person’s criminal record by conducting a background check. Here are details you’ll find on a criminal record. 

  • Fingerprint
  • Date of birth
  • Photograph or mugshot
  • Past and current addresses
  • Sex offender status
  • Former arrest records
  • Past and current warrants
  • The record also includes the law enforcement agency that arrested the individual, the state police, the police department, the county sheriff, and others.  

From the information, you’ll know who you’re dealing with. Background checks can save organizations from hiring people with questionable characters and criminal backgrounds. So, it is worth it.  


Are police reports public in Michigan? Certain police reports are public in Michigan. However, reports from the governor’s office aren’t made public; the same thing with reports of important personalities in the legislature. 

Individuals can also use legal means to hide their records from the public, making it impossible for people to access them via simple online searches.

You cannot access a person’s criminal history from other states. Other records you cannot access online or are not in public records in Michigan include juvenile records, traffic records, tribal records, local misdemeanor and federal records.  

You can obtain people’s criminal records via various means. You can do so online and offline. You can access criminal records online via Michigan OTIS and ICHAT. However, you must pay a standard fee of $10 per search on ICHAT. 

Again, remember that ICHAT is useful when searching for the criminal records of felons or serious misdemeanors. 

Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper is a dedicated news blogger with a zeal for storytelling. Enthusiastically covering current events, he constantly seeks fresh angles and innovative ways to refine his craft and engage his readers.


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