State Rep. Ryan Berman, of Commerce Township, speaks at a press conference on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Berman and other representatives announced a plan to support recruitment and retention of local law enforcement officers.
Accompanied by county sheriffs and other local law enforcement officers, state Rep. Ryan Berman and fellow representatives today announced a plan to support local police agencies in communities across Michigan. The announcement comes during National Police Week, May 9-15, 2021.
“No matter what dangerous circumstances they face, Michigan law enforcement officers honorably serve and protect the people in our communities across the state, but they need — and deserve — our support,” said Berman, of Commerce Township. “By allocating resources for retaining current officers and recruiting new officers, this plan will provide stronger support for local police forces to make our communities safer.”
The plan would provide tools to help departments retain good officers despite the risks they face and increasingly vitriolic rhetoric about police work. The same factors have made recruitment efforts more difficult, and the House plan would boost these efforts to attract new officers. Additional resources would support programs to engage local communities, fostering relationships of trust and support.
The plan includes:
- Tuition assistance for individuals considering attending police academy;
- A work-study program to allow opportunities to explore a law enforcement career;
- Incentives for community policing, de-escalation training and expanded use of body cameras;
- Access to mental health services for police, corrections officers and other first responders;
- A signing bonus for new law enforcement officers; and
- Financial support for secondary road patrols and officer recruitment.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard was one of several local law enforcement leaders joining the representatives for the announcement.
“Police work never stops, but it does change,” Bouchard said. “The current environment can be a major discouragement for current and prospective law enforcement officers. A plan to boost morale, increase training opportunities, interest recruits and engage the people we serve will go a long way to strengthen our law enforcement efforts and support our officers.”
“I am grateful for Sheriff Bouchard’s presence today,” Berman said. “He has admirably served our community as sheriff for over two decades, and Oakland County residents know that his office enforces the law fairly and protects us faithfully. Sheriff Bouchard’s support is strong evidence of the help our plan will provide for our dedicated law enforcement officers and the people they serve.”
In addition to his duties as state representative, Berman also serves as a reserve police officer, and he previously served as a reserve deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
The House of Representatives today approved a supplemental spending proposal that included $80 million to fund components of the law enforcement plan. Berman offered the budget amendment to create a $5 million grant program for signing bonuses of up to $2,000 for new public safety officers at local departments.
After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a plan supposedly to help law enforcement, state Rep. Ryan Berman said her proposal was a similar, but weaker version of a plan Berman and fellow representatives proposed earlier this year.
State Rep. Ryan Berman today testified before the House Oversight Committee in support of his bipartisan plan to make governmental agencies and employees civilly liable for failing to address sexual misconduct.