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Governor Dayton Wants More Funds for Public Safety

Posted at: 01/24/2013 6:23 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Part of Governor Dayton's budget proposal is more funding for public safety. The investments include millions for our courts, jails, and law enforcement agencies.

Officials I spoke with said when it comes to public safety and our court systems more funding is definitely needed.

"Our population has grown and with that the filings are up," said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.

Ostrem says budget cuts over the last few years have stressed our court system to the max.

"Being under budgeted and under resourced just completely complicates all that stuff," said Ostrem.

With more cases and less staff the public suffers. As part of Governor Dayton's proposed budget investments, the state court system would receive 33 million in new funding. Dayton also proposes more funding for law enforcement body armor and more resources for emergency planning in our schools.

"Anytime there's an advantage given to law enforcement particularly in safety I'm very supportive with these idea," said Sgt.Tom Claymon.

He says the need to protect our officers has grown.

"I've seen changes in crimes and the technology and weapons that are being used,” said Sgt. Claymon.

The governor's proposal also includes more funding for public defenders who Ostrem says are buried in cases.

"Frankly their offices may not be as efficient because they don't have the staff," said Ostrem.

Also included in the proposal more staffing for our state prisons as well as modernizing our criminal tracking system.

All investments that officials hope make our state more safe.

"It's kind of like car insurance you hope you never need to use it, but when it does happen you're really thankful you have it," said Sgt. Claymon.

But Ostrem says, because of all the past cuts, these proposed investments would only be a start.

"They're at least a significant recognition that we can't slash anymore that we've got to move forward," said Ostrem.

According to Ostrem a majority of the 33 million for the court system will go towards long overdue raises He said part of the 8 million towards public offender will create new positions in the state.