Newly signed legislation will allow local police departments to claw back the cost of police officers’ academy training should they choose to leave the department within four years of graduation.
LANSING—Bipartisan bills signed into law on Tuesday are aimed at keeping more local police officers in the same communities where they were trained, allowing them to nurture deeper relationships with residents while building a stable workforce in police departments statewide.
“As a former prosecutor, public safety is a top priority for me and I will work with anyone to keep Michigan communities safe,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “These bills will help police departments provide quality academy training and retain officers so they can build relationships with the communities they serve. Since I took office, we have delivered more than $1 billion to help local governments hire more first responders, and I will continue working with my partners in the legislature to expand opportunity and keep Michigan communities safe.”
House Bill 4176 and Senate Bill 32 aim to help retain cops by allowing law enforcement agencies to recoup 100% of the academy training costs from employees who leave the agency within one year. The reimbursements would gradually decrease to 75% for those who leave within two years, 50% for those who leave within three years, and 25% for less than four years.
State officials said the bills—which had nearly unanimous support in both the House and Senate—will ultimately allow local communities to keep more of their taxpayer dollars while retaining officers who have already built relationships with local residents.
It’ll also pay big dividends for the city of Detroit, which has recruited and trained hundreds of officers through its police academy, only to have them leave without working within the city.
“This has been a significant concern for the city of Detroit and its residents for some time, and after six years of hard work and persistence, I am proud to finally be able to deliver this important change” Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), sponsor of Senate Bill 32, said in a statement. “Passing this law makes financial sense for the department and taxpayers, will keep quality, trained officers in our city, and will not only uphold but improve public safety.”
Added Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan: “Police recruits knew they could receive the best training available at DPD, and then take that training to a suburban department that paid them more.”
The bill also includes flexibility, and allows police agencies to waive the payback requirement at their discretion. Officers who leave law enforcement will also not be required to pay back costs.
“As a 50-year public servant with strong roots in law enforcement; I understand that retaining police officers is crucial to maintaining the stability and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies within our communities,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement. “High turnover rates disrupt the continuity of operations, while maintaining a stable workforce helps to preserve institutional knowledge and build trust within the communities.”
Since she took office in 2019, Whitmer has invested more than $1 billion in efforts to promote public safety in Michigan—including $36.6 million in funding dedicated specifically for local first responders in the latest state budget proposal. Earlier this year, Whitmer also signed a package of gun safety bills to establish universal background checks for all gun purchases and more.
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