Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer signs executive directive aimed at reducing crime, gun violence

By: - July 26, 2022 2:39 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hosts a roundtable discussion with parents, students, law enforcement officers, faith leaders, and elected officials Kalamazoo on July 26, 2022 to discuss gun violence prevention measures. | Whitmer office photo

A new executive directive signed Tuesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will have state departments and law enforcement coordinate on how to best take advantage of newly available federal funds, with the intent of reducing crime and gun violence in Michigan.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden last month. It makes “long-overdue investments in public safety,” as Whitmer’s executive directive puts it, by providing federal resources to states.

Whitmer, a former prosecutor, signed the directive in Kalamazoo Tuesday following a roundtable discussion with law enforcement, parents, students and faith leaders.

“We need to tackle both crime and gun violence simultaneously because they are inextricably linked — nearly one in three reported violent crimes involve a firearm and in the first six months of this year alone, over 450 Michiganders have died because of gun violence,” Whitmer said.

“…Thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, we have access to unprecedented federal resources that will help us keep Michiganders safe as they go to work, drop their kids off at school, or run errands in their neighborhoods.”

Effective immediately, the executive directive calls for:

  • State departments and agencies to review the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and take all necessary steps to maximize Michigan’s allocation of federal funds.
    • Each department/agency that qualifies for the funding must identify a designee within 30 days to oversee the body’s efforts and facilitate coordination with others.
  • The Michigan State Police to evaluate opportunities to improve the state’s process for reporting relevant criminal, mental health and juvenile records under the new act and related federal law to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), National Crime Information Center Database (NCIC) and Interstate Identification Index (III).
    • MSP must consult with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) at SCAO’s discretion.
    • The MSP must also apply for any appropriate grants related to improving the system for reporting criminal, mental health and juvenile records under the new act.
  • The MSP to create the Community Violence Intervention Office for coordinating state and federal grants related to community violence intervention programming.
    • The office must coordinate regularly with DHHS and all state departments and agencies that may qualify for funding under these grants.

Zoey Rector-Brooks and Jayanti Gupta, youth leaders of March For Our Lives Michigan, said, “There is much work left to be done, yet this is a victory worth celebrating.”

“…The gun violence epidemic has been tearing apart thousands of Michiganders’ lives each year with nearly no government action taken to prevent such tragedies. Today, however, this changes,” they said.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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