LANSING — State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) is introducing a bill that would create scholarship grants for people who want to pursue a career in law enforcement. The grants are specifically designed to help communities of 80,000 or more residents recruit a police force that more accurately reflects the diversity of their own community.

“A recent report requested by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards came up with 16 recommendations to foster greater trust between communities and their police forces, including suggestions to diversify law enforcement agencies, provide greater funding for training of law enforcement officers and build a sense of community,” Rep. Brinks said. “Law enforcement is a tough but rewarding career. We want to do all we can to ensure we have the best force possible.”

Under Brinks’ proposed scholarship grant program, state funds would be made available only if they were matched on a $1-to-$1 or greater basis by local communities that have a population of 80,000 or more. In order to participate in the Police Recruit Scholarship Program, a community would have to create a strategic personnel hiring plan designed to create a force that reflects the economic, racial and ethnic makeup of local residents.

“The relationships between local police and the people they serve have become strained in many communities, and Grand Rapids is no exception,” Rep. Brinks said. “This is one way the state can assist our community in creating a police force that knows and reflects the diversity of the people it serves. I’m hopeful my colleagues will agree and put their support behind this pro-community, pro-police bill and move it quickly through the Legislature.”