Governor Whitmer proposes to allocate COVID-19 federal funds to Michigan police Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposes additional police funding
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proposed allocating $ 75 million in federal COVID-19 funds to provide Michigan law enforcement with better training, find and remove illegal guns from Michigan communities, and fund community programs that deliver more opportunities in education, employment and the justice system.
The proposal, announced in Detroit last month, follows a to augment of violent crime in Michigan in the past year, with the crime rate in Detroit increasing 9.41% and the homicide rate in Detroit increasing by 19%.
In his announcement of the proposal, Whitmer cited the importance of ensuring the safety of Michigan citizens as his motivation for the funding decision.
âPeople are scared,â Whitmer said. âThey are afraid of pumping their gasoline or taking the highway, stopping at a red light, driving to work, dropping their children off at school. It is not fair, and we cannot and will not accept it. No one should feel in danger in their life. ”
Noah Streng, president of the LSA, president of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at the University of Michigan, is unhappy with Whitmer’s announcement. Streng said he believes that increasing law enforcement funding will not reduce violence or crime and that this funding expansion is not about socio-economic issues. disparities facing Michigan communities due to the pandemic.
“I think Governor Whitmer is wrong when she says the police are protecting us,” Streng said. âIt’s true that we’ve seen a slight increase in violent crime over the past year, but crime doesn’t happen without a reason. There are real material reasons why people turn to crime.
David Helps, co-chair of the Graduate Employees Organization abolition caucus, said he believes lawmakers need to look at more than crime rates when making policy proposals and decisions. He pointed to Detroit’s 45% unemployment rate rate during the pandemic and the impact that had on communities and crime rates across the city.
âPeople have been traumatized, people have been sick, have lost their jobs, have known people who have died, and all these forms of suffering have been concentrated in certain towns and in certain communities,â Helps said. “These are some of the same places where we are seeing an increase in certain forms of violence.”
Supporters of this proposal argued that a sufficient number of police coaching is essential for reducing violence in communities, as it will help law enforcement to better cope with high stress situations.
LSA sophomore Alex Manthous supports Whitmer’s proposal and said he believes this funding increase will help promote safety statewide.
âI support his decision not to fund the police,â Manthous said. “I am in favor of taking illegal guns off the streets, especially since crime is closely associated with firearms and illegal weapons.”
Streng said he believes the police should be funded with an emphasis on allocating more money to community programs in communities that have been abandoned. This money would be used to boost education, housing, and mental and physical health, Streng said, which could subsequently reduce violence.
âWe cannot stop our way out of this problem,â Streng said. âIf we took the federal funding and combined it with the shifting of resources from law enforcement to strong social services, jobs, education and health care, we would see a much different outcome, where people would have the opportunities and the ability to lift oneself out of poverty and not have to turn to crime.
The governor’s proposal awaits support from the Republican-held legislature, which has touted bipartisan support for increased law enforcement and police funding.
Helps expressed frustration at the lack of action to address the root causes of violence on both sides of the aisle.
âThe solutions we have seen proposed are just to spend more money on the problem, put more cops on the streets, increase the number of interactions between police and civilians, and we have known since the uprisings of the last year exactly how this story ends. Helps said. “So it’s not that surprising, but it’s disappointing to see Governor Whitmer retreading this path that we have taken time and time again.”
Earlier this year, Republicans and Michigan Senate Democrats introduced a 13 wrap in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to combat police brutality. The package banned arrest warrants and strangling, and revoked the licenses of police officers who used excessive force.
But Manthous said he believes police funding could lead to an increase in crime and contribute to an increase in illegal guns statewide.
“I think the police obviously have the best interests of the citizens in mind,” Manthous said. “They are on the line of duty to protect us.”
Daily reporter Kate Weiland can be reached at [email protected].