Whitmer Launches Operation to Crack Down on Gun Crime
LANSING, Mich. (STL.News) Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled a statewide crack down on crime called Operation Safe Neighborhoodsaimed at reducing gun violence by getting illegal guns off the street and out of the hands of people who cannot legally be in possession of a gun due to prior criminal history. Nearly one in three reported violent crimes in Michigan involve a firearm, and in the first half of 2022, over 450 Michiganders have lost their lives due to gun violence. The new initiative builds on Governor Whitmer’s MI Safe Communities program that she launched last summer to invest in local police, get illegal guns off the street, and fund expanded opportunities in jobs, education, and the justice system.
“As a former prosecutor, public safety is a top priority for me. Michiganders deserve to feel safe as they go to work, drop their kids off at school, or run errands in their neighborhoods,” said Governor Whitmer. “While the annual crime report showed that, thanks to our work, crime is flat in Michigan, there is more work to do. That’s why we launched this program to tackle crime and gun violence—two inextricably linked issues—simultaneously. We are working with law enforcement and state and local officials to prevent gun violence in Michigan in the wake of recent shootings. This year, I signed a budget into law to send local governments more money than they’ve received at any point in the last 20 years, including to hire and support additional police officers. Let’s work together to protect public safety, reduce crime, and get illegal guns off the street.”
“Every person in Michigan, no matter where they live or who they are, deserves to live freely and safely in a way that enables them to be their best selves,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist II. “When we take real action to support police-community relationships, we can put in place policies that prevent crime in the first place. I am encouraged to see this progress. We look forward to continuing to invest in all of the mechanisms available to us to create communities where every person feels safe, with their needs met, knowing that the state of Michigan is invested in their future.”
“I have partnered with attorneys general across our country to address the proliferation of illegal firearms and get these weapons off our streets,” said Attorney General Nessel. “People who circumvent the legal process for obtaining a firearm pose a serious threat to our communities. I will continue to enforce the law and hold criminals accountable.”
Recently, MDOC parole and probation agents teamed with local law enforcement across the state and have been conducting enhanced compliance checks on probationers and parolees who are legally prohibited from possessing a gun.
“Our mission as a department is creating a safer Michigan and our field agents play a crucial role in that effort. By partnering with local law enforcement on these targeted actions, we are helping to take guns and drugs off our streets, which means less crime and fewer victims,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said.
“Our troopers see the deadly results and devastating impact illegal guns have on communities every day, and I commend the Michigan Department of Corrections for their work,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police.
There are roughly 32,000 probationers and 8,500 parolees in the state, of which 20 percent have been convicted previously of a gun crime. These individuals are supervised by more than 1,000 MDOC parole and probation agents. The plan the department devised and implemented is aimed at the strategic targeting of high-risk individuals who have weapons possession in their criminal history that could be used to commit further crime.
These enhanced checks have in the past few weeks netted 37 arrests, the finding of 25 guns, and a variety of drugs and ammunition.
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