Truth Squad: Bill Schuette’s ‘push’ for 1,000 new Michigan cops

Bill Schuette 1,000 cops

Attorney General Bill Schuette in a TV ad mentions he sought to put more cops on the beat.

August 2018 update: Bill Schuette wins Republican nod for Michigan governor

Whenever he can, Bill Schuette mentions his endorsement by Donald Trump. And like the president, Schuette is campaigning as a law-and-order executive in his bid for Michigan governor.

So it’s no surprise the Republican’s latest TV ad touts his tough-on-crime bona fides, highlighting his office’s prosecution of human trafficking predators and vowing as governor to crack down on “illegal immigration” and “ban sanctuary cities.”

It’s pretty standard stuff, aligned with Republican orthodoxy on crime and immigration. But the ad includes one intriguing claim: That Schuette’s “pushed for 1,000 new cops on the beat.”

That is mostly accurate, because as Michigan’s attorney general Schuette did indeed call for more police. But it’s also dated, silent on how vigorously Schuette “pushed” for extra cops and doesn’t mention that his plan didn’t go anywhere.

The claim

“As your attorney general, I fought hard to keep for your families safe. I pushed for 1,000 new cops on the beat.”

The facts

Soon after Schuette took office in 2011, crime fears washed over Michigan.

Murders spiked to their highest level in six years in 2012. Four cities ranked in the country’s most violent (Flint, Saginaw, Detroit and Pontiac). And years of budget cuts left police shortages in Detroit, the Michigan State Police and numerous other forces.

That year, Schuette announced a plan to allow prosecutors to seek 25-year minimum sentences for four-time felony offenders, and divert $140 million from a $400 million state budget surplus to hire 1,000 officers in cities statewide.

The sentencing reform –  known as VO4 –  became law. The plan for cops went nowhere.

It drew some praise but also criticism because it would only guarantee state funding for two years. After that, the Legislature would have had to appropriate more money, or the burden would have fallen to local communities.  In an editorial, The Saginaw News called Schuette’s plan “a bit naive” on where continued funding would come from.

Since then, funding for State Police has increased, and the number of troopers has grown to 1,022  last year from less than 900 in 2012, state records show.

“Schuette feels the spirit of the 1,000 new cops proposal was agreed with by the Legislature and governor, as they have concentrated on adding more state troopers every year,” John Sellek, a spokesman for Schuette’s campaign, told Truth Squad.

Gov. Rick Snyder was committed to increasing trooper ranks from day one, and Schuette had nothing to do with it, countered Mike Schrimpf, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial rival Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

Schrimpf noted that Schuette’s office calendar, which the Calley campaign acquired through the Freedom of Information Act, shows no meetings between the attorney general and Snyder that are specifically identified as tied to the 1,000 cops plan.

“If it was more than a sound bite, you'd think it would have warranted a meeting,” Schrimpf said.

Who
Bill Schuette
What
Pushed for more cops
The Call
Mostly Accurate

There’s no question Schuette called for 1,000 new cops. Heck, a video of the announcement is still on YouTube.

But did he push for them? Now we’re getting into semantics.

Like a lot of proposals that fail, there’s room to second-guess the merits of Schuette’s plan and how hard he fought for it.

But campaign ads can’t include all details and serve mostly to highlight values, records and aspirations. And there’s no doubt that Schuette has a close relationship with law enforcement, winning several endorsements and sounding the alarm for more cops when Michigan needed them.

TRUTH SQUAD RATINGS

Truth Squad assigns five ratings to the political statements we review, in descending levels of accuracy:

ACCURATE ‒ No factual inaccuracies in the statement and no important information is missing

MOSTLY ACCURATE ‒ While the statement is largely accurate, it omits or exaggerates facts, or needs some clarification   

HALF ACCURATE ‒ Truths are interspersed with mistruths, or the speaker left out significant facts that render his/her remarks misleading in important respects

MOSTLY INACCURATE ‒ The major point or points made are untrue or misleading, even while some aspects of the claim may be accurate

FALSE ‒ The statement is false, or based on false underlying facts

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Comments

David Waymire
Thu, 08/02/2018 - 9:23am

Most first responders (police and fire) are local government responsibilities. Massive cuts to revenue sharing have meant huge reductions in numbers in those areas. This year, the state's revenue sharing to, say, Detroit, increased by only 0.8 percent -- less than inflation -- putting more pressure on the city's budget. If a state official wants more police, the best way to do that is to restore revenue sharing. More info at savemicity.org.

Rick
Thu, 08/02/2018 - 7:07pm

Schuette will run on the trademarked Trump campaign model: Fear and Hate. Fear the hordes, aliens, crime, etc. Even when the stats say quite the opposite.
But he'll love the Russians, Russian election meddling and reducing the number of voters. That's 'freedumb' according to the GOP.