Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth and other members of the House Republican caucus who have worked in law enforcement today announced a plan to support law enforcement, strengthen the criminal justice system and expand community policing statewide. The legislators were joined by county sheriffs, local police officers, and representatives from the Chiefs of Police, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, and the Police Officers Association of Michigan.
“Local departments statewide are facing several long-term challenges that are getting in the way of quality policework and are threatening the future of this profession,” said Speaker Wentworth, who served as a military police officer in the United States Army. “At the same time, police are under the microscope more than ever before. We need to rise to the occasion and provide the help our local officers need to do the job and keep our communities safe.”
The plan includes multiple items to help attract new talent to the profession, develop the skills of existing police officers, and fund important services like road patrols and community policing. The changes include the following:
- Tuition assistance for people considering the police academy
- A work study program to give people an opportunity to consider a career
- Incentives for community policing
- Incentives for expanded use of body cameras
- Incentives for de-escalation training
- Access to mental health services for police, corrections workers and other first responders
- A signing bonus for new officers
- State support for secondary road patrols
- State support for recruiting strong candidates into the academies
“This is just the first step,” said Wentworth. “House Republicans will continue to make support for our law enforcement community a priority, and we will continue to develop policies that help them do their job and improve our criminal justice system statewide.
“We want our men and women in uniform to know that we hear them. We understand the challenges they’re facing. And we are here to help.”
The Michigan House is today finalizing a supplemental budget bill that affects the ongoing fiscal year. In order to begin some of the attraction programs and community policing as soon as possible, the parts of the plan that include a budget component will be discussed on the House floor as soon as this afternoon so that they can be included in that supplemental bill. Other statutory changes, including future reforms still being developed, will be introduced and discussed in committee in the near future.
Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth today called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to remove Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Liza Estlund Olson and give the beleaguered agency new leadership and a new direction. Director Estlund Olson took over after the previous director resigned amid criticism and failure.
State legislators from the Michigan House of Representatives invited first responders and military veterans and active duty servicemembers from their local communities to attend the event commemorating the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and honoring the first responders and members of the military who fell in the line of duty during the past year.