DeWine Announces Proposal To Provide $250 Million To Law Enforcement, First Responders
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced details of a new proposal that would invest hundreds of millions of dollars into support for first responders.
The proposal would award $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to state and local first-responder agencies to counter increases in violent crime and to mitigate impacts to staffing levels and first-responder wellness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeWine said that first responders, mainly police and troopers, are far more likely to suffer from depression and burnout. He also said police and patrol officers haven't been able to work from home, and the pandemic has been particularly tough on them.
“This is clearly not the time to defund the police. This is the time to fund them and in a new, creative way that helps them protect us from the violent offenders," said DeWine.
Ohio Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald said officers are more likely to die by suicide than the general public. He said the wellness dollars can help prevent that by connecting officers with the care they need when they need it.
$75 million will go to wellness programs, with the rest going to new community police programs, equipment, and officer recruitment.
When asked by reporters if any of the money could be used to shore up the police and fire pension fund, DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said it was not allowed. Recently, some lawmakers have suggested cities kick more money into that pension plan.
The plan will require legislative approval. Some GOP lawmakers were on hand at the announcement to say they support the plan. DeWine hopes the General Assembly will pass the proposal soon so he can sign it into law.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.