$368.5 million, policy reforms provide needed resources for first responders
State Rep. Mike Mueller of Linden today led the House in approving an expanded plan to support law enforcement and public safety personnel and help them better protect the people they serve.
The measures, approved today with bipartisan support, include $368.5 million in funding and policy reforms to help first responders with recruitment and retention efforts, community outreach and equipment upgrades.
“The men and women in uniform who serve our communities need our support now more than ever before,” Mueller said. “The work they do is important, and we’re making them a priority.”
The $368.5 million supplemental appropriation is funded by one-time federal COVID relief and surplus state resources.
The revised plan is an even bigger commitment than the preliminary $80 million plan the House approved in May and the $250 million plan House Republicans unveiled last month. In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Oxford, it was expanded to add even more funding for school resource officers to work proactively with students and families – bringing the total to $50 million.
“Having resource officers working in schools builds relationships between police officers and students that wouldn’t otherwise occur,” Mueller said. “Officers become mentors and are seen as more relatable and approachable.”
The revised plan also adds more support for firefighters and EMS personnel, while maintaining its focus on public safety recruitment and retention, community outreach and equipment upgrades. A special focus is on recruiting law enforcement officers now working in other states to Michigan.
Mueller, a retired sheriff’s deputy, 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.
“Extremists who attack law enforcement and push the ‘defund the police’ narrative have driven officer morale to an all-time low,” Mueller said. “Rather than bashing the blue, we’re standing with them and finding solutions to boost recruitment, foster trust and respect with people in the community, and make sure officers have the mental health support they need.”
Pillars of the House plan include:
Recruitment and retention: 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. Tuition assistance and grants to help offset expenses will make attending a police 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.
Policy changes will allow local law enforcement agencies to pay for a new recruit’s academy tuition and enter a five-year employment contract with them. If the recruit leaves within that period they would be required to reimburse the agency for a portion of the training costs based on the amount of time spent with the department after their training is complete.
Other reforms expand the pool of qualified recruits, remove hurdles for returning officers and provide resources for part-time public service assistant positions to perform routine law enforcement tasks.
Strengthening bonds in neighborhoods and schools: The plan provides $10 million in grants 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, narcotics team gear, communications equipment upgrades, local police K-9 units, and other essentials.
The plan now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
Rep. Mueller talks about House passage Tuesday of his HB 6042, which allows digital critical incident mapping data as an option that school boards can supply to law enforcement rather than providing the currently required building plans, blueprints, and site plans. Rep. Mueller says the option would provide better assistance for law enforcement agencies and […]
The Michigan House today unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Rep. Mike Mueller that will save lives by helping police officers respond more effectively to active shooter situations and other emergencies in schools.