The vast majority of seats in Michigan state government are up for election in November, 2010, and because of term limits, many of the candidates that prevail in the election will be newcomers to Lansing and its political process. Educating legislators on law enforcement issues has been an arduous task for POAM’s Legislative Director, Kenneth E. Grabowski and the staff at Michigan Legislative Consultants. It is our hope that the fresh blood that emerges from the process will pump new life into improving our state’s economic condition.

Director Grabowski has sent a questionnaire to every statewide candidate requesting their position on many subjects while offering relevant history and data on the topics. His response rate was encouraging and many of those answers are reflected in our endorsements highlighted in this issue.

As a public employee, notify your legislators (new or incumbent) about the local collective bargaining process and how insulted you were when state politicians proposed a 5% reduction in pay and a 20% premium on health care after already making many of those same concessions over the last couple of contracts. It is also time for Corrections Officers to mail a letter outlining the need for resolution of the economic impasses that occur while negotiating a contract for CO’s. Police officers must contact their legislators and insist that compulsory arbitration stays in place and any modifications to Act 312 be in line with the streamlined process that POAM recommended. Road deputies should keep their representatives in Lansing informed about secondary road patrol money not being pilfered to support non-essential functions of the State Police. And we must all be aware that funding the State Police Crime Lab and its other specialized investigatory services stay intact.

If you don’t act, the only information our legislators will be receiving is the propaganda from the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties and other groups that want to erode the financial wellbeing of your family. POAM’s message resonates with legislators when followed up by actions taken by individual members. Many citizens entering the political arena had good intentions when they began their terms. Let’s make sure those good intentions don’t bow to political affiliations or along party lines, but rather to improving public safety in the state of Michigan.