LANSING, Mich., June 15, 2022 — Law enforcement will soon have another tool to use in apprehending jail escapees or other fugitives. When enacted, House Bill 4173 will remove the cap on the amount a county can offer as a reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a wanted suspect or an escapee from jail or prison. The current law, PA 175 of 1927, caps the maximum amount a county can offer at $2,000.

“The amount of money that counties can offer as a reward has not changed in nearly 100 years. Higher reward amounts could lead to better information and get dangerous people off the streets,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt). “It’s past time that we give counties this tool to encourage reluctant witnesses to come forward.” 

The bill leaves the decision about how much to offer to counties’ boards of commissioners. Hope said this type of reward would likely only be offered in extraordinary circumstances.

This bill has been introduced in three previous House sessions, twice by Hope’s predecessor state Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) and once by Hope. House Bill 4173 is supported by the Michigan Sheriffs Association, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the Michigan Association of Counties. It unanimously passed in the Michigan House of Representatives in February, and the bill now awaits the governor’s signature.