October 3, 2019
Dear Governor Whitmer,
As the sheriffs of some of the largest sheriff’s offices in the state of Michigan, we write to you today to express our extreme disappointment in the line-item vetoes, which were made to both the Corrections Budget and State Police Budget, which will adversely affect public safety standards in Kent, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Washtenaw counties as well as all sheriff’s offices across the state.
In the Corrections Budget, a line-item veto was made to the County Jail Reimbursement Program (CJRP). This program reimburses county jails for housing felons who would otherwise be housed in Michigan Department of Corrections facilities.
We understand the debate about the provisions related to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but to eliminate the entire fund would be destructive to our budgets. These funds were a solemn state promise to counties if they housed prisoners, which otherwise would go to state facilities.
Balancing the state budget on the backs of locals is unacceptable. We are unsure as to how we would be expected to make up this loss of funding to house these individuals.
In the State Police budget, two of the four line-item vetoes will impact local law enforcement agencies on a large-scale. First, the Secondary Road Patrol (SRP) program’s restricted funds were cut. This will cause a loss of approximately 120 deputies patrolling secondary roads in our counties across the state. These positions will be lost, and our communities will be less safe due to this setback to the SRP program.
Our agencies have been vocal in increasing the amount of funding to this program and yet, we are now seeing these funds eliminated. In 1978, there were 287 road patrol deputies funded through this program and this cuts the remaining 120. We should be working to restore the 278 deputies, not make our whole state less safe.
The second line-item veto in the State Police budget, which will affect our agencies is the cut to Training Grants to Local Law Enforcement Agencies. At a time when the need for more police accountability and improved outcomes is echoed in the media daily, the solution is better hiring and better training. With the loss of these training funds, agencies across the state will feel the effects to their budgets and will have to make tough decisions to send their officers to trainings. In a moment where police behavior is under great scrutiny, more and better training is the answer. To slash this training is dangerous.
We understand the complexity of the budget process, however, making line-item vetoes to vital programming for public safety is not in the best interests to the residents to the state of Michigan.
Due to the road funding issue, which is perceived to be the foundation behind these line-item vetoes, the balancing of the Michigan budget is now adversely affecting the budgets of sheriff’s offices across the state.
We ask that these funding streams are restored as soon as possible in order to maintain the level of public safety which the residents across the state expect.
• Mike Murphy
Livingston County sheriff
• Michelle LaJoye-Young
Kent County sheriff
• Anthony M. Wickersham
Macomb County sheriff
• Michael J. Bouchard
Oakland County sheriff
• Tim Donnellon
St. Clair County sheriff
• Jerry L. Clayton
Washtenaw County sheriff