Dixon’s proposal, focused on “building a safe state,” would seek to hire over 5,000 local officers, 500 state troopers, 2,000 state and local corrections officers, and 5,000 fire and EMS personnel, The Detroit News reported.
“This is an extremely important issue for our state,” Dixon said at an event in Grand Rapids. “We feel it is our top issue because if we cannot keep our communities safe, we cannot keep people here.”
Dixon outlined her plan that includes $700 million for recruiting new officers and giving them signing bonuses on top of free tuition. She also wants the state to spend $250 million to train officers with de-escalation techniques and provide them with body cameras and riot gear. Another $50 million would go toward addressing a rape kit processing backlog and pursuing sex offenders.
Dixon, the Republican challenger to Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, said her plan would help bring an end to what she calls Whitmer’s “violent crime wave.”
Violent crime in some Michigan cities has seen an uptick in the past eight months. Grand Rapids, the state’s second-largest city, saw 761 assaults and 15 homicides in the first seven months of 2022, both above the average from the last three years, according to Bridge Michigan. Crime-ridden Detroit continues to face violence as the city reported five mass shootings in three months this year, including 182 homicides since 2022 began. Oakland County, northwest of Detroit, has seen double the amount of homicides this year than in 2021, and of the 26 reported homicides in the county, four of them were children.
At her Tuesday event, Dixon reminded those in attendance of the governor’s 2019 road patrol veto that could have eliminated 119 sheriff’s deputies positions across the state. The move met backlash from Michigan’s Republican-led legislature and never went into effect.
The Republican candidate was joined by Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young, who praised Dixon’s announcement, ABC 7 News reported.
“We think it’s so important that you have the backing of the chief executive officer of the state that’s coming out and saying the police are our priority,” said LaJoye-Young. “As you saw, that’s in our constitution. We have agreed to this. The governor should be the first one there saying we have their backs. That’s the discussion we’ve had with police across the state. Saying, just that perception that the top officials in our state don’t have our back is making it difficult to do our jobs.”