Tudor Dixon announces $1B plan to support law enforcement
Republican, gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon made a stop in Grand Rapids on Tuesday to unveil her $1B "Building a Safer State" strategy. The move would support law enforcement by investing over the next four years to recruit and retain a mass of first responders.
“We know if we are going to get violent crime under control we need more police to do it. We know if we are going to address the inequities, inefficiencies and inconsistencies in our criminal justice systems we need much more training and proper equipment and technology to do so," Dixon told the media during a press conference on Tuesday.
Dixon’s plan would allocate the dollars in three major areas: Recruitment and Retainment, Equipment and Training & Finding and Detaining.
Recruitment and Retainment:
Dixon's plan would invest $700 million to instruction support, youth engagement, recruitment marketing and incentives to lure more public safety officials to Michigan. Among the incentives listed are ensuring retirement benefits are preserved and providing free hunting and fishing licenses, as well as recreational passports. The funds would also create stipends to cover personal costs while public safety personnel train.
Equipment and Training:
Another $250 million would go towards providing mental health support and de-escalation training. Funds would also be used to purchase body-worn cameras, riot gear, narcotics masks, etc.
Finding and Detaining:
$50 million would be allocated to help eliminate backlogs, by providing new lab facilities to process forensic evidence quicker, such as rape kit processing and gun case back logs. These dollars would also fund reimbursements for tracking down offenders who have run away or to extradite from other jurisdictions.
During her speech on Tuesday, Dixon blamed digital media, politicians and members of the media for the rising calls to defund police. She promised if voted Governor she would "never" allow law enforcement to be defunded.
"Certainly in our digital age, videos of tragic deaths like George Floyd going viral changed the public perceptions about the levels of police violence. At the same time there were some elected officials and some in the media who sought to benefit from being viewed as 'tough on cops,'" she said.
Dixon used the Grand Rapids Police Department as a backdrop of these announcements. A former Grand Rapids Police Officer, Christopher Schurr, is currently facing second-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Congolese refugee, Patrick Lyoya. WGVU reached out to Dixon's campaign team asking if this was a consideration in the decision to hold the announcement in Grand Rapids. Her office has not responded yet.
However, during the press briefing on Tuesday running mate Shane Hernandez told reporters the announcement could have been made anywhere in Michigan.
Dixon also cited "failed leadership" by current Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as a reason for the greater investment plan.
"Amid the summer 2020 riots and violence across the country, Gretchen Whitmer stated that she supports the spirit of the defund the police movement. Gretchen Whitmer has failed to do her job and keep the Michigan people safe," Dixon said.
Dixon and Whitmer are expected to hold a debate on October 13th.