Lansing Mayor Schor pushing to hire five police officers
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Mayor Andy Schor wants the City Council to approve the hiring of five new officers, to specifically target a rise in gun violence. Residents in Lansing have seen fourteen gun deaths over the last six months.
18-year-old Jason Stephenson says he has lost two friends to gun violence.
“There were two kids who used to go to Everett, and they died recently because of the shootings,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson says there have been so many shootings he’s gotten used to it. It has him concerned for those he cares about.
“It doesn’t scare me, it just makes me worried about the people I’m around,” Stephenson said. “I don’t want them to end up being on the news or dying. Especially with everything going on right now it just makes me worried about them and their families.”
The Lansing Police Department is receiving more than $600,000 in grant money to hire more officers. Stephenson as well as Mayor Schor believe adding more night patrol officers will bring down the violence.
“We’ve spent a lot of effort on prevention,” Schor said. “But, we also have to do enforcement. We have to make sure that situations don’t turn violent. We need more officers to do that.”
Schor plans on hiring five new officers to the department, but council member Kathie Dunbar believes adding more officers is not going to solve the problem.
“Study after study shows that increasing patrol officers does not prevent gun violence,” Dunbar said. “Gun violence goes down when you reduce poverty and reduce inequity.”
Dunbar believes the department should hire investigators instead of patrol officers to solve the crimes. She also says the department has had the money to hire nine officers for over a year and wonders why now?
“Where were these supposed hires, these now-qualified candidates, when all of these mothers were losing their kids?” she asked.
Despite Dunbar’s hesitation, Mayor Schor is calling on the city council to approve the grant money as soon as possible, stating they need to “begin the hiring process immediately.”
The city council is set to meet on Monday.
Earlier this week, Mayor Schor formed a gun violence task force that will collaborate with community leaders to address the increased violence.
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