State Representatives Timmy Beson and Annette Glenn, both members of the House Appropriations Committee, have backed a new plan to provide resources for law enforcement in Michigan, especially to support and recruit local police officers.
Using surplus funds from state revenue and federal COVID-19 relief, House Bill 5522 would provide a total of $250 million for training, recruitment, community outreach, equipment and other supports for police and corrections officers.
To help recruitment and retention efforts, $20 million would be provided to support signing and retention bonuses for public safety officers and first responders. Other efforts include $40 million to help pay for police academy training, $10 million for career exploration and job shadowing programs, and other funds for certification fees. The plan would also create a $57.5 million dollar Move to Michigan incentive program to help recruit officers from other states to transition to local police departments in Michigan. The plan would ensure transferring officers would not lose existing retirement benefits.
The nature of law enforcement work often places intense pressure on officers. The spending plan would allocate $7.5 million to support mental health programs for police, as well as first responders, on top of the $2.5 million for mental health support included in the regular budget Beson and Glenn helped approve earlier this year.
Beson and Glenn also highlighted $10 million for community policing programs designed to build good relationships between officers and the people they serve. Another $10 million would pay for school resource officers to protect Michigan students. The plan would also help local police departments purchase equipment such as body cameras, communications technology and first responder bags.
Finally, the plan would provide $12 million for the Michigan Department of Corrections. The funds would go toward signing and retention bonuses, training, and an innovative pilot program for parole monitoring.
After an initial hearing today, the bill remains under consideration by the House Appropriations Committee.