LANSING - State Representatives Thomas Stallworth (Detroit) and Woodrow Stanley (Flint) criticized today Attorney General Bill Schuette’s recent proposal to place 1,000 additional police on Michigan’s streets as financially short sighted and too narrow in its view of crime prevention. Schuette’s proposal is one of many being put forward after the announcement of this year’s $457 million budget surplus and would require a $70 million expenditure for each of the program’s two years.
“Efforts to reduce violence should include a balance between increasing police presence and summer jobs which are desperately needed during these tough economic times and which will reduce the anticipated spike in crime and violence we experience each summer,” said Stallworth. “Jobs and the expansion of drug courts, which have been successful in reducing crime while reducing correction costs, will result in not only less crime but will also spur progress in urban areas in desperate need of economic opportunity and development.”
Stallworth and Stanley argue for a more “comprehensive approach” to tackling the law enforcement angst many Michigan communities have suffered in recent years due to declining revenues. The representatives say the attorney general’s proposal focuses only on police, provides no long-term funding for jurisdictions to sustain the increased staff, will exacerbate the gridlock in the already overcrowded courts, and will have little immediate impact due to the time required to train new officers. They are proposing a broader, more thoughtful use of the surplus for programs that will lower violence through greater prevention and efficiency.
“Our community has been hit hard by poorly performing schools, which is a direct result of this administration’s attack on education,” said Stanley. “Our goal should be to expand opportunities that will sustain a reduction in crime like K-12 education, jobs and community economic development. We must find a way to put this money back into the hands of local governments, which have insight regarding creative strategies to address crime.”