Sen. Schuitmaker honors fallen soldiers at Senate’s Memorial Day ceremony

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker honored fallen soldiers in the Senate chamber on Thursday during the Michigan Senate’s 21st Annual Memorial Day Service.

“It was an honor to participate in our annual Memorial Day service,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “It’s important we thank the brave men and women who have served our country and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Lawmakers honored soldiers from their districts who died within the past year. Families who lost loved ones were also recognized by the Senate.

The Michigan Senate held its first Memorial Day Service at the initiative of former U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, who was then a state senator.

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PHOTO CUTLINE: State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, was joined by Sergeant Michael Gower, his wife Kelli Gower and the family of Gabriel De Roo, who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph of Schuitmaker at the 21st Annual Senate Memorial Day ceremony is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

 

 

Schuitmaker testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee on bill that would modernize, update Michigan State Police titles

State Police officials join Sen. Schuitmaker in support of Senate Bill 328

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on a bill sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker that would update the grades and duties for members of the Michigan State Police (MSP).

Schuitmaker was joined in her testimony by Michigan State Police Colonel Kriste Etue. Sergeant Amy Dehner and an additional 15 female Michigan State Troopers also accompanied Schuitmaker and Etue at the hearing to show their support for the legislation.

“Senate Bill 328 is about making sure we recognize that women are working in the same capacity as men, and the women serving in the Michigan State Police deserve the same respect and dignity as their counterparts,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “I’m proud to say that the Michigan State Police hasn’t used the term ‘policewoman’ in many years, and it is now our turn to do the same in the Legislature by updating our state statutes. This is one act we can do to honor those who serve and protect us.”

Senate Bill 328 would eliminate from state statute the antiquated title “policewoman,” which was used at a time when female members of the MSP were paid less than men.

Schuitmaker said this important change reflects current department policy, which has not used this title and grade for several decades. The rank and titles of inspector and recruit would also be added to keep consistent with department policies.

“This bill is another example of Senator Schuitmaker being a great advocate for law enforcement and the Michigan State Police. Many women in the Michigan State Police look to 1967 when we hired our first two female troopers, and since then many others, including myself, have followed in their footsteps,” added Etue.

SB 328 was unanimously approved by the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now before the full Senate for consideration.

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PHOTO CUTLINE: State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (front right) testified on May 19 before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 328, which would update the grades and duties for members of the Michigan State Police by removing the term “policewoman” from state statute, as well as adding the rank and titles of inspector and recruit to state statute. Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, was joined in testimony by State Police Colonel Kriste Etue (front left).

Editor’s note: the above photograph of Schuitmaker testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

 

Schuitmaker introduces Blue Alert legislation to notify public after attack on law enforcement

Lansing, Mich. — Legislation introduced Thursday by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker would protect the public and law enforcement after an attack on an officer.

Senate Bill 336 would create the Blue Alert system to inform the public of attacks on law enforcement officers in an effort to help apprehend violent offenders. Similar to an Amber Alert, a Blue Alert would rapidly disseminate information about an offender across television, radio and other media.

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “We owe it to them to see that their attackers are quickly caught and brought to justice.”

To order a Blue Alert, a law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously injured by an offender, the offender must pose a serious risk or threat to the public and other officers, information about the offender’s vehicle must be available and the law enforcement agency must recommend activation of the Blue Alert to the State Operations Center.

“The Michigan Fraternal Order of Police is proud to be supporting Sen. Schuitmaker’s legislation establishing a statewide alert system for officers who are killed or seriously injured in the line of duty,” said John P. Sadowski, State Lodge president of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

“Almost daily we see unprovoked attacks on law enforcement officers across the country,” added David A. Hiller, executive director of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

The legislation was introduced during National Police Week in conjunction with Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15. In 2014, more than 50 law enforcement officers across the United States were killed by violent criminals. Twenty-two states have already enacted Blue Alert legislation with 10 others currently considering bills.

“It’s important that we inform the public about attacks on our officers,” said Schuitmaker. “The Blue Alert system will allow for the swift apprehension of these violent criminals.”

In 2011, Schuitmaker sponsored legislation creating Silver Alerts, which broadcast information about missing seniors. The Amber Alert and Silver Alert notification systems have been very successful in helping to locate missing individuals.

SB 336 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Schuitmaker bill would eliminate outdated titles from state statute

Lansing, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker on Tuesday introduced legislation that would update the grades and duties for members of the Michigan State Police (MSP).

“As citizens, I think it is important to honor those who serve and protect us,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Updating our laws to properly reflect the ranks and titles of officers is one small way we can honor the brave individuals who serve our communities.”

Senate Bill 328 would eliminate from state statute the antiquated title “policewoman,” which was used at a time when female members of the MSP were paid less than men.

Schuitmaker said this important change reflects current department policy, which has not used this title and grade for several decades. The rank and titles of inspector and recruit would also be added to keep consistent with department policies.

“Women are serving in the same capacity as men, providing vital services and protections for our communities,” Schuitmaker said. “This will properly recognize their work with the respect and dignity it deserves.”

SB 328 was introduced during Police Appreciation week — May 10 through May 16 — and Law Enforcement Appreciation Month.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

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Apply for elk and bear licenses now through June 1

The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that applications for Michigan elk and bear hunting licenses are available now through June 1. There will be 100 elk licenses and 6,951 bear licenses available for the 2015 hunting seasons.

Only Michigan residents are eligible to apply for an elk license. Bear licenses are available for both residents and nonresidents; however, no more than 2 percent of licenses in any bear management unit will be issued to nonresidents. Hunters can apply online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings, at any authorized license agent or at a DNR Customer Service Center. A nonrefundable $5 fee is charged at the time of application. Hunters may purchase just one bear and one elk application.

Hunters who want another chance at a bear or elk license can increase their odds by applying for the Pure Michigan Hunt. Applications are $5 and are available at any license agent or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com. Hunters may buy as many applications as they want. Three lucky winners will get prize packages that include elk (Michigan residents only), bear, deer and turkey licenses; first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area; plus firearms, crossbows and much more – a prize package worth over $4,000. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt.