Lawmakers in Michigan have put forward new legislation aimed at establishing a state-backed trust fund to support public safety and violence prevention efforts in local communities.
The proposed plan would appropriate state sales tax revenue to create the fund, while distributing the money proportionately based on annual violent crime statistics compiled over three years.
The bill specifies that a single community would not be able to receive more than 25% of the total funding in any given month.
The initiative, introduced by State Representatives Nate Shannon and Alabas Farhat, received support from prominent figures including House Speaker Joe Tate, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Police Chief James White and Grand Rapids Police Deputy Chief Joe Trigg.
The lawmakers emphasized the need for additional support from the state to address violent crime in areas that require urgent attention.
“We know our local partners are stretching available dollars to help keep neighborhoods safe and prevent escalation of violence, but they need more support from our state,” House Majority Leader Joe Tate said.
The Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund aims to provide a dedicated and permanent source of funds to enhance public safety across Michigan. Approximately $100 million will be allocated to municipalities throughout the state based on crime statistics provided by the Michigan State Police.
According to officials, the funds will be directed to communities experiencing the highest crime rates, with State Representative Alabas Farhat highlighting their versatility in supporting various aspects of policing.
He mentioned programs such as neighborhood police officer initiatives and efforts to foster relationships that can help build violence interrupters within communities statewide.
“Neighborhood police officer programs and programs, for instance, have encouraged relationships, which help build violence interrupters in communities and districts across Michigan,” Farhat said.
To finance the fund, revenues from amending Michigan’s General Sales Tax Act will be utilized. State Representative Nate Shannon sponsored the corresponding bill.
“It lays out a comprehensive plan of how Michigan will support public safety and fund ongoing efforts to prevent crime while working to safeguard the health and well-being of our state and those within it,” he said.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also expressed his support, noting that the funding would aid the city and Wayne County in combatting crime and reducing recidivism rates.
He emphasized the importance of hiring more “neighborhood” officers to establish proactive relationships with community members, particularly in high-crime areas.
Additionally, Detroit Police Chief James White mentioned the expansion of the city’s mental health response unit, which currently comprises 90 officers and medical professionals.
In Grand Rapids, the funding would enable the police department to actively recruit officers, filling approximately 30 vacant positions allocated in its budget.
The move aligns with the community’s call for more visible and community-centric policing efforts.
The legislation comprises two bills: HB 4605 and HB 4606.
HB 4605 directs the state Department of Treasury to deposit a portion of sales tax revenue into the Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund on a monthly basis, while HB 4606 outlines the distribution of funds and includes provisions prohibiting communities from using the disbursed dollars to replace existing expenses.
House Speaker Joe Tate stated that the proposal builds upon previously passed public safety initiatives, including a series of gun safety proposals introducing new laws for weapon storage, background checks on firearm purchases and risk protection orders.
The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance for further consideration.