Comm-PAC Spotlight: Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya SchuitmakerSen. Tonya Schuitmaker is a lifelong resident of southwest Michigan. She and her husband, Steve, have two beautiful children, Jordan and Savina. After an acclaimed legal career, Tonya served three terms in the House of Representatives. She then went on to be elected to the Michigan Senate in November 2010. Her legislative priorities include jobs, the economy, fiscal responsibility, protecting children, seniors, the mentally ill, the disabled, and maintaining public safety.

We were able to sit down with Tonya recently and ask her some questions about Senate Bill 92 (S-7).

Comm-PAC:
It’s so good to see you, Tonya. Thank you for taking the time to be with us today. We would like to learn more about Senate Bill 92 (S-7). What can you tell us?

Schuitmaker:
Thank you. I’m glad to be here, too, and excited to spread the word about this bill.

Considering the growing national unrest around law enforcement and minority communities, we want to foster and concretely support all efforts that help our community and state law enforcement officers forge strong bonds of friendship and trust with the citizens and communities they serve. We also want to help law enforcement officers receive better and updated training. Senate Bill 92 would amend the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act to codify the current commission, as well as add members representing deputy sheriffs and the general public.

Comm-PAC:
What concretely would this mean for law enforcement and minority communities?

Schuitmaker:
Instead of certifications, the bill would call for to a person who meets the standards of and will be employed as a law enforcement officer to be licensed. Doing so would ensure further excellence in our law enforcement community. Licensed law enforcement officers would also be required to inform MCOLES if they have been charged with a particular offense or subject to a personal protection order.

We believe these new standards and accountability will build new bridges in our communities and help our state celebrate strong and fruitful relationships between law enforcement and civilians.

Comm-PAC:
What are the financial ramifications associated with the proposed licensing of law enforcement officers? Do you have any concern about costs? We know that you value fiscal responsibility, so we’d like to hear your thoughts related to financing these proposed changes.

Schuitmaker:
Those are good and very important questions. I am happy to say that this bill would have a minimal fiscal impact on State and local government. In fact, we believe the benefits of this bill will save us money in the long term by identifying and addressing issues with specific officers before they become a public concern.

Comm-PAC:
Thank you for your time today. Is there anything else you would like to add in closing?

Schuitmaker:
Yes, I also want to extend my gratitude to our law enforcement personnel. I really celebrate and support their great sacrifice, commitment, and generosity. The chance to offer these outstanding members of our society greater training, higher standards, and new accountabilities with low fiscal impact is an endeavor I can stand behind.

Most importantly, the betterment of the greater Kalamazoo region and surrounding communities is something I wholeheartedly embrace.

For more information about Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, please visit her website.

Visit our Community Impact page for more information about initiatives and projects Comm-PAC supports.