Senator Tom Barrett Votes to Defund Police Departments Across the State

LANSING — Senator Tom Barrett, a Republican member of the Michigan State Senate, voted to defund police departments across the state of Michigan. The departments are those who serve universities around the state in cities from Detroit (Wayne State) to Houghton (Michigan Tech) and cities across Michigan.

According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “University police, or public safety officers, as they are referred to in some places, are employed by all of the state public universities and many community colleges. Per state law, university police officers have law enforcement authority on all property that is governed by a university’s boards of trustees. Officers are responsible for enforcing state law and the ordinances of their university.” This means that all police officers who keep students safe are funding through Michigan’s higher education budget.

House Bill 4400 passed the Michigan Senate in September with 34 yes votes and only 2 no votes. Barrett and Senator Runestad, a Republican from Oakland county, were the two no votes. This means that they voted to completely zero out higher education including the police departments that respond to emergency calls from young students who may be in danger when walking on campus after a night of studying.

According to MLive, Michigan colleges and universities employ approximately 350 uniformed police officers. If these officers were one department it would be the 7th largest in the state or about the size of the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Senator Barrett did not indicate why he voted to defund higher education including their police officers and departments or whether or not he knew that his vote would, in effect, defund police.


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