LANSING, MI –
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state should use a budget windfall to hire a thousand more police officers. Statewide, violent crime has gone down in recent years, but -- as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, Michigan still has some of the most dangerous cities in the country.
Four of the top 10 most violent U.S. cities are in Michigan. The state has three thousand fewer police officers than it did a dozen years ago. Mostly, that's due to state and local government budget cutting during the recession. But now, Michigan's running a surplus.
And Attorney General Bill Schuette says Michigan's economic turnaround requires public confidence that streets and neighborhoods are safe.
"More cops on the street, more criminals behind bars and it changes the equation in Michigan," he says.
Schuette wants to spend $140 million from a $450 million budget surplus over the next two years to hire police officers. Schools, universities, and the state's "rainy day" savings fund are also competing for some of that money.