The Michigan State Police is getting money for a few initiatives – including help with rape kit testing.
The money comes from three grants earmarked for separate uses.
One grant will pay for overtime for the state police lab to test sexual assault kits. Money will also go to toward investigating cases that have been hung up in backlogs.
Nancy Bennett is the division director for MSP’s grants and community services division.
“MSP really places a high priority on processing sexual assault kits,” she said. “This is the second year we have been awarded this highly competitive grant. So we will work to ensure that all kits are processed.”
Another grant will be used to fight methamphetamine production and use in the state. Matt Opsommer, a grant writer for MSP, said the grant is especially important in southwest Michigan. “While heroin is, and rightly so, getting a lot of attention nationally as well as here in Michigan – heroin and opioids,” he said. “We’re also seeing a comeback of sorts of methamphetamine.”
The final grant will pay for a new patrol boat for the Port of Sault Ste. Marie.
Bennett said money from grants allows MSP to work on extra projects and are an important part of MSP’s annual funds. “This allows us to do things that might be outside of our budget,” she said. “They use them as incentives for getting projects started. If you have grant funding and things work really well, then the agency is much more likely to incorporate that into their regular operating business.”
There are no more federal grants available for this fiscal year, Bennett said, but their department works all-year-round trying to secure money for MSP.