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Michigan Republicans unveil plan to support police agencies

Lawmakers want to increase recruitment and retention of officers while making long-term changes in operations
 A Michigan State Police trooper pulls over a driver for a traffic violation. (MSP Photo)
A Michigan State Police trooper pulls over a driver for a traffic violation. (MSP Photo) (WLUC)
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 12:44 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Republicans released an $80 million plan Thursday to boost police agencies in Michigan by encouraging more people to become officers, strengthen the criminal justice system and expand community policing strategies.

House Speaker Jason Wentworth, who is a former U.S. Army police officer, and other representatives who previously worked in law enforcement worked on the plan with police associations and law enforcement labor unions across 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 Wentworth. “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 Republican plan includes the following goals:

  • Tuition assistance for students considering a police academy.
  • A signing bonus for new police officers.
  • Additional state support for recruiting candidates into police academies.
  • Work-study programs for students considering a law enforcement career.
  • Additional training for officers in de-escalating incidents.
  • Incentives for law enforcement to expand community policing.
  • Incentives for agencies to provide body-worn cameras for officers.
  • Expanded access to mental health services for first responders.
  • State assistance for police agencies to patrol secondary roads.

“This is just the first step,” said Wentworth. “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 working on a supplemental budget bill for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30. Republicans plan to seek funding right away for recruiting and community policing measures included in their plan.

Bills for other changes in police strategy will be introduced into the Michigan House later this year.

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