On March 10, 2010, POAM Executive Board member and Monroe County Deputy Sheriffs Association President, Dave LaMontaine, testified in front of a House Subcommittee against Governor Granholm’s elimination of $2.2 million dollars from secondary road patrols in diverting the monies to the state police. POAM was the only police union to testify on the subject and were joined by Deputy Sheriffs Association of Michigan (DSAM) Executive Director, Larry Orlowski.
Revenue was to be re-directed to the Michigan State Police budget to fund at-post trooper strength, thus avoiding layoffs, and the State radio system which is in the red. A survey of top paid deputy and trooper wages, including benefit packages was conducted and the results verified that the confiscation of this money would result in the layoff of 39 deputy sheriffs to save 26 troopers. The Committee reported their proposed budget with the following changes from that of the Governor’s:
1. A new $5 sur charge placed on all civil infraction traffic violations to fund at-post trooper strength and, offset the cost of the State radio system and the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) fees paid by local law enforcement agencies;
2. The Michigan State Police Detroit Freeway Post to close with the affected staff being transferred to other posts;
3. $1.8 million added to the State Police Forensic Labs.
Secondary road patrol grant monies were left intact and the House Appropriations Committee passed the budget without change. The Michigan Senate voted to leave P.A. 416/SRP monies intact while establishing a funding mechanism to address the Michigan State Police budget shortfalls that is different than the House version. The Bill will go to Conference Committee to resolve that difference.
“POAM and DSAM have consistently led the fight against the Governor’s office from pilfering money from local and county law enforcement agencies to fund many State Police activities that are a duplication of services,” remarked LaMontaine. “Although POAM is universally recognized as the voice for law enforcement in Michigan, I was disappointed that no other police labor associations took a stand on this issue.”
The reason for the Michigan Association of Police Officers’ (MAPO) deafening silence is that their legislative coalition includes and is sometimes spearheaded by State Troopers. POAM is confident that we can count on MAPO’s legislative support when addressing the funding of the State Police Crime Lab and its other specialized services.