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Rep. Bellino supports innovative plan to keep communities safe and support public safety personnel, including out-of-state recruitment initiative
RELEASE|November 10, 2021

State Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe today supported a comprehensive $250 million plan to support public safety personnel and better protect the people they serve – including an innovative out-of-state recruitment plan to address an officer shortage at local law enforcement agencies.

The $250 million supplemental budget plan – focused on recruitment and retention, community outreach and equipment upgrades – was unveiled today during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. It builds upon an $80 million preliminary plan approved by the House in May.

“We must always have the backs of our law enforcement officers,” Bellino said. “It will only become more difficult to keep families and communities safe if departments continue having trouble filling jobs. Under this plan, public safety personnel will be supported, and their relationships with people in the communities they serve will be strengthened.”

House Speaker Jason Wentworth said the plan demonstrates a commitment to public safety at a time Michigan has nearly 4,000 fewer law enforcement officers than during the 2001 terrorist attacks. There are hundreds of unfilled positions across the state.

The initiative includes $57.5 million for a ‘Move to Michigan’ recruitment plan to help local departments hire officers now working in other states. The plan ensures officers moving to Michigan will keep retirement benefits they’ve already earned in other states. Other incentives include covering the cost of hunting and fishing licenses and recreation passports for one year.

Other pillars of the House Republican plan include:

Improving recruitment and retention: Tuition assistance and grants to help offset expenses will make attending an academy a more practical, affordable option for local law enforcement and corrections officer candidates. Local departments could receive grants to offer job shadowing and signing bonuses to new hires. Local law enforcement, fire departments, EMS agencies and corrections departments would get recruitment marketing support. Public safety personnel who miss work because of COVID-19 quarantine could be reimbursed for lost wages and leave time. An additional $7.5 million would support mental health assistance for local law enforcement, firefighters, EMS personnel and other public safety officers.

Strengthening community bonds: A total of $10 million in grants would be provided for community policing initiatives shown to improve relationships between officers and people in the neighborhoods they serve. The mix of community policing and mentorship that make the Police Athletic League so successful in Detroit would be expanded to other communities with a $15 million investment.

Supplying essential equipment: More resources would be available for body-worn cameras and gear, communications equipment upgrades, and other essentials.

Other provisions include support for local police K-9 units.

House Bill 5522 remains under consideration in the Appropriations Committee.

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