Police recruiting not a problem in U.P., but retention a statewide issue

Capital News Service
LANSING—While the state’s Upper Peninsula can attract new police recruits, its Lower Peninsula has challenges attracting qualified officers, experts say. The number of police officers is at an all-time low in Michigan, said Fred Timpner, executive director of the Michigan Association of Police. “I’ve got departments in lower Michigan that have 10 openings and five applicants,” he said. The reason is low pay and no retirement benefits, Timpner said. “What the public doesn’t realize is that 70-some percent of officers aren’t eligible for Social Security.

State groups strengthen police, community ties

Capital News Service
LANSING — As communities across the country confront mistrust between police and citizens, organizations across Michigan are working to build relationships that officials hope can avoid unrest when something goes wrong. For two decades, parts of the state have formed trust-building initiatives to ensure lines of communication are open to address incidents such as police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, or North Charleston, South Carolina. “It’s very important that these relationships are being built and maintained, because it’s very challenging to build a relationship in the midst of a crisis,” said Patrick Miles Jr., a U.S. attorney who serves as co-chair on the Grand Rapids Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust. “It can be detrimental if no relationship is there.”

The group, one of five so-called ALPACTs across Michigan, includes law enforcement officials, prosecutors, local government officials, faith-based leaders, advocacy groups and individuals from the local community. Other regions with ALPACTs are Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and Benton Harbor.