Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a $32 million investment to fund training and resources for law enforcement in Michigan.
The proposal is part of the larger $75 million MI Safe Communities framework the governor announced in July, which will use federal funding from the American Rescue Plan. The four-part investment will go to communities with the highest increases in violent crime, according to Whitmer.
“We have to work together to fund police and reduce crime because every Michigander in every community deserves to live safely,” Whitmer said. “As a former prosecutor, keeping families safe is a top priority, and the MI Safe Communities framework will help law enforcement officers do their jobs more effectively. I will work with anyone to bring down crime and help Michiganders feel safe in their community. Together, we can build a safer, more just Michigan where every family can thrive, where every kid can get a great education, and where every person has a path to a good-paying, high-skill job.”
The proposal will dedicate $20 million to retaining and recruiting officers. Grants up to $10,000 per officer will help local police departments and correctional facilities retain staff and grants of up to $10,000 will help recruit or retain future officers enrolled in police training programs or new officers who have completed at least two years at a department.
“The member agencies of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police are truly appreciative of the concrete actions the Governor is taking to address the critical issues that our law enforcement officers and departments are currently facing,” said Robert Stevenson, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.
To enhance training for officers, $4.5 million will fund professional development and forgive educational debt for recent hires with a matching grant of $5,000, totaling up to $10,000 per eligible officer.
"This represents the first of many necessary steps designed to give communities and law enforcement the resources they need to provide Michiganders the safety they deserve," said Rob Figurski, President of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations.
A grant program will offer behavioral health services for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, dispatchers, and local correction officers. This $4.5 million program will build on ongoing efforts from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to set up an officer mental wellness initiative.
"Any money spent on making the public safer is money well-spent,” said Matt Saxton, Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, “And we look forward to learning more about these grants for law enforcement services, recruitment, and retention."
The investment would use $3 million to hire homicide detectives or other line staff at police departments to investigate and solve violent crime. This would drive down homicide clearance rates in Michigan cities, which is currently some of the worst nationwide, according to Whitmer.
Whitmer plans to make more announcements on MI Safe Communities in the coming weeks.