State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz recently voted to provide additional funding to help struggling local law enforcement agencies keep their communities safe.
Schmaltz, R-Jackson, said the proposal will ensure the new resources are used to strengthen support for police departments and sheriff’s offices amid widespread officer shortages.
“Behind every badge is a commitment to safeguarding lives and upholding justice, but our police officers are stretched thin, navigating complex situations with insufficient support,” Schmaltz said. “It’s time to bridge this gap, equip local law enforcement with the right resources, and strengthen the bond between officers and the communities they tirelessly serve.”
House Bills 4605 and 4606 would deposit a portion of state sales tax revenues into a new Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund to distribute to local law enforcement agencies, with an emphasis on high-crime areas.
An earlier version of the bills failed to receive enough support to pass the House, but Schmaltz advocated for changes to improve the legislation and make sure the funding would help improve public safety. The new version of the plan ensures the resources truly support law enforcement purposes, such as local officer recruitment and retention, equipment purchases, and operating expenses. The bills now have safeguards to ensure local governments don’t use the new public safety funding to replace existing police funding and create social programs instead of expanding law enforcement support.
The amended bills also allocate 2% of the funding to the Crime Victim’s Rights Fund.
“Victims of crime often find themselves in a maze of emotions and challenges, seeking a way to rebuild shattered lives,” Schmaltz said. “This fund helps provide a support system, ensuring that no victim faces their journey alone.”
House Bills 4605 and 4606 await further consideration in the Senate once the Legislature reconvenes in the new year.
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