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The Michigan House passed a bill Thursday spending over $300 million in state General Fund and federal stimulus money for public safety.
House Bill 5522, introduced by state Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden), will dedicate $368.5 million towards hiring initiatives, police mental health resources, body cameras, community policing programs, school resource officers, bonuses to potential officers and current officers, and scholarships and stipends for those looking to join or who are already in the police academy.
“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 biggest chunk, $57.2 million, will go to “Move to Michigan Incentives” to encourage more out-of-state officers and public safety employees to move to Michigan.
The House also adopted an amendment boosting funding to $50 million for school resource officers to further increase safety in schools for students, teachers, faculty and staff. The adoption of the amendment comes after a shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday where four students were killed and others were injured. The amendment was introduced by state Rep. Gary Howell (R-North Branch).
About $40 million will go towards providing scholarships for potential officers to attend the police academy, as well as provide better wages to police cadets.
About $212.75 million comes from the General Fund, while the remaining $155.75 million is from federal stimulus funds. Michigan still has billions in unspent stimulus funds for the state’s COVID response, schools and other aid.
State Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) praised the increase in funding for police equipment like body cameras that will help to ensure the safety of Michiganders and Detroiters. About $11 million has been designated for more body cameras for Michigan police and public safety officers, with $3.5 million going to Detroit.
“We have to ensure that we spend federal money on appropriate uses and that conforms to the Michigan Constitution to ensure there are no issues getting this money out the door and into the communities where it will help keep residents safe,” Thanedar said. “Focusing on getting illegal guns off the streets and equipping officers with body cameras will go a long way toward making Detroiters feel more safe in their neighborhoods.”
The plan passed in the House, 97-3. Reps. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) and John Reilly (R-Oakland Twp.) voted against the bill.
State Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills) responded on Twitter: “The only people who voted against funding the police are REPUBLICANS!”
The only people who voted against funding the police are REPUBLICANS!
— Samantha Steckloff (@SamSteckloff) December 2, 2021
The bill received unanimous approval from House Democrats, despite none of their proposed amendments making it into the bill. The bill now heads to the state Senate for a vote.
State Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), said in a press release following the vote that policing is not a “panacea for crime” but that the funding will nonetheless help police combat crime. He said the proposed amendments by Democrats would have provided a “multifaceted approach” to prevent crime from happening.
“This legislation will take significant steps towards stopping the surge of violence that we’ve seen in many communities following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” O’Neal said. “It’s crucial that we support our police and provide them with the resources they need — this legislation does that.”
The $368.5 million is a boost from the original $80 million that was proposed in the House last May and the $250 million that was proposed by House Republicans earlier this month.
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also released her own $75 million “MI Safe Communities” plan in August to increase funding for police departments for training and other public safety measures aimed at reducing crime.
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