$250 million proposal includes innovative out-of-state recruitment initiative
State Rep. Mike Mueller of Linden today unveiled a comprehensive $250 million plan to support local public safety personnel and help them better protect the communities they serve – including an innovative out-of-state recruitment plan to address an officer shortage at local law enforcement agencies.
The $250 million supplemental budget plan – focused on recruitment and retention, community outreach and equipment upgrades – was unveiled today during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. It builds upon an $80 million preliminary plan Mueller led the House in approving this spring.
“We should always have the backs of our law enforcement officers – but it’s more important now than perhaps ever before,” Mueller said. “If departments continue to have trouble filling jobs, it will get harder and harder to keep families and communities safe. The $250 million plan I’m working on will support public safety personnel and strengthen their relationships with people in the communities they serve.”
House Speaker Jason Wentworth said the plan demonstrates a commitment to public safety at a time Michigan has nearly 4,000 fewer law enforcement officers than during the 2001 terrorist attacks. There are hundreds of unfilled positions across the state.
“Michigan’s men and women in uniform deserve to know that they are a priority and that their work is important to us,” Wentworth said. “In an era when far too many people are attacking law enforcement and looking for ways to defund the police, we chose to stand with them and find solutions together. Using their experience and their expertise, we built a plan that will rebuild the ranks, train them up to a higher level, and give our local heroes all the tools they need to do the job.”
The initiative includes $57.5 million for a “Move to Michigan” recruitment plan to help local departments hire officers now working in other states. The plan ensures officers moving to Michigan will keep retirement benefits they’ve already earned in other states. Other incentives include covering the cost of hunting licenses and recreation passports for one year.
“Offering new tools for out-of-state recruitment will help prevent some of what has been happening, where departments in nearby communities end up raiding each other for new hires,” Mueller said. “Incentives like these can help attract good, experienced officers from other parts of the country who may be looking for a change.”
Other pillars of the House Republican plan include:
Improving recruitment and retention: Tuition assistance and grants to help offset expenses will make attending an academy a more practical, affordable option for local law enforcement and corrections officer candidates. Local departments could receive grants to offer job shadowing and signing bonuses to new hires. Local law enforcement, fire departments, EMS agencies and corrections departments would get recruitment marketing support. Public safety personnel who miss work because of COVID-19 quarantine could be reimbursed for lost wages and leave time. An additional $7.5 million would support mental health assistance for local law enforcement, firefighters, EMS personnel and other public safety officers.
Strengthening community bonds: A total of $10 million in grants would be provided for community policing initiatives shown to improve relationships between officers and people in the neighborhoods they serve. The mix of community policing and mentorship that make the Police Athletic League so successful in Detroit would be expanded to other communities with a $15 million investment.
Supplying essential equipment: More resources would be available for body-worn cameras and gear, communications equipment upgrades, and other essentials.
Other provisions include support for local police K-9 units, school resource officers and additional training.
House Bill 5522 remains under consideration in the Appropriations Committee.
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