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Michigan House passes $368.5M in public safety funding

December 2, 2021 GMT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House passed a $368.5 million public safety and police funding plan Thursday for fiscal year 2021-2022, increased from its $80 million plan proposed in May.

One area that got more funding is school resource officers, who work either full-time or part-time in schools with the aim of ensuring students, teachers and staff’s safety.

The sponsor of the spending plan bill, Republican Rep. Mike Mueller issued a statement Thursday citing the Oxford High School shooting as the reason for the increase to $50 million in funding. Four students were killed Tuesday and several others were wounded in the shooting at the school in Oxford Township.

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Lawmakers from both parties cited longtime underfunding of first responders, while Republicans cited a growing negative public opinion of law enforcement.

“Those who protect us are not necessarily given the honor and respect they deserve,” Republican Rep. Bryan Posthumus said. “Our communities cannot thrive without the protection provided by law enforcement officers. Their steadfast commitment to the people of this state should be matched by the steadfast support of this state.”

The plan passed with bipartisan support 97-3 and will now head to the state Senate for approval.

The spending plan includes over $80 million to recruit and retain officers with bonuses and marketing, including $57.5 million designated to entice out-of-state officers through “Move to Michigan” incentives.

New officers and first responders could be offered up to $5,000 in signing bonuses under the spending plan. Current officers and first responders could be offered up to $5,000 in retention bonuses.

Other funding includes $40 million from federal COVID-19 relief money to offer scholarships of up to $20,000 per recruit to attend police academy and up to $4,000 stipends to recruits while they’re attending.

Other investments include funding for body camera programs and reimbursing officers who took time off to quarantine due to the pandemic, in an effort to bolster the recruitment of first responders and increase effectiveness.

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Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.