FBI — Gov. Rick Snyder (recently) laid out an ambitious public safety plan that seems to get its arms around many of the proposals that both Democrats and Republicans have been urging for the past few years, ever since revenues for local governments and the state went south.
Snyder said in a special message to the Legislature that "smart justice" is key to safe communities and to our continuing economic recovery.
"It's time to reinvent public safety in Michigan," Snyder said. "Our state can't reach its full potential until we tackle the problem of violent crime in our cities. It devastates families, leaves neighborhoods in fear and robs our state of its economic vitality. But we can overcome these challenges through a collaborative, comprehensive and long-term approach. By moving forward with a system of 'smart justice,' we will hold chronic offenders accountable for their actions, bring peace of mind to community residents, help to break the cycles that perpetuate crime, and unleash Michigan's economic growth." We agree.
We've seen the kind of damage that can take place in crime-ravaged cities, the kind of crime that sends business fleeing to suburbs and the people with the means to move doing so, in droves, leaving behind empty buildings and empty coffers to the responsible government.
While Snyder's comprehensive plan is too large to go through detail by detail, it outlines structural reforms in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems and helps to ensure that the state's firefighters and first responders are prepared for their jobs.
Snyder focuses on the four cities in Michigan that rank among the nation's 10 most violent cities, according to theFlint, Detroit, Saginaw and Pontiac — and he urges governments across the state to work together to help quell the epidemic of violence that besets poor communities. He focuses, too, on crime prevention and intervention.
In addition to his words, Snyder has asked the Legislature to approve plans that will put more money into state police training, job training for disadvantaged inner-city youth, forensic labs, enhanced parole supervision, jail building, prosecutorial support, preliminary court reform and inner-city jobs programs, among a host of other reforms.
How fast these reforms can be initiated remain to be seen, but putting more money into the law enforcement and court systems in the worst hit areas, with the emphasis on collaboration, should help those who need help most.