Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon has said boosting Michigan law enforcement funding by $1 billion over four years will be a “top priority” of her administration, rolling out the first d a series of policy proposals eight weeks before the general election.
At a Tuesday press conference in Grand Rapids, Dixon placed the blame for rising violent crime in Michigan on his Democratic opponent.
“Gretchen Whitmer has failed to do her job and keep the people of Michigan safe,” Dixon said. “His adherence to a radical anti-police policy has sent a message to the police that they have no back and to criminals that they can do whatever they want.”
The fix for what Dixon’s campaign has called “Whitmer’s violent crime wave” is a plan, detailed only in broad strokes, to spend on areas where they say law enforcement has been neglected.
In a statement, Dixon’s campaign said the plan would “recruit and retain” more than 12,500 officers between local and state police, firefighters, paramedics and corrections officers. She would allocate $700 million to the effort — about $56,000 per first responder — offering to provide them with perks like stipends while in training and free hunting licenses. Another $250 million would be allocated to mental health equipment, training and support, with a final $50 million devoted to expanding forensic labs and finding fugitives.
Dixon’s chief strategist, James Blair, said the campaign intended to unveil five plans in the coming weeks focusing on “each of the main areas of government” as pillars of its campaign platform. country. Public safety is the first.
“As Gretchen Whitmer continues her dishonest gaslighting campaign, Tudor Dixon will speak the truth and hold her accountable for her record of death, destruction and despair,” Blair said in a statement.
A handful of elected officials and law enforcement were on hand for the roughly 15-minute announcement. They were standing in front of the Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters, which has been fronted by a concrete barricade since former officer Chris Schurr fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in early April.
Related: Pivotal hearing delayed again in former Grand Rapids police officer’s killing of Patrick Lyoya
Experts and advocates note that the causes of rising and falling crime rates are complex and are rarely influenced by a single cause.
Dixon’s running mate, Shane Hernandez, was on hand and said that during his tenure in the legislature, it took careful negotiation to increase funding for law enforcement. He pointed to Michigan’s current budget surplus as a source of funding for the proposal.
“With Tudor Dixon as governor, there will be a partnership ensuring our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to move forward,” Hernandez said.
Related: Popular establishment and GOP: What Shane Hernandez brings to the Tudor Dixon ticket
Maeve Coyle, a spokeswoman for Whitmer’s campaign, turned to Whitmer’s case to counter Dixon’s accusations.
“As a former prosecutor, public safety is a top priority for Governor Whitmer. She has worked across the aisle to support law enforcement with the tools they need to keep Michiganders safe, including increased resources to hire more police officers and strengthen training,” Coyle said in a statement.
Coyle said the 2021 budget included a 12% funding increase for the Michigan State Police and the total number of police officers in the state has increased under Whitmer’s administration.
Dixon will face Whitmer in the November 8 general election.
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