Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is upping the amount of money he wants to see go toward policing in the state over the next three years to $500 million, part of what he’s calling his “re-fund the police” initiative.
“You could not possibly have a worse time for anyone to call for defunding the police,” Hogan said during a news conference Monday in Annapolis.
The announcement, just ahead of the General Assembly session starting Wednesday, comes as parts of the state — including Baltimore and Prince George’s County — see rising crime rates, following a trend seen nationwide.
While Hogan said more details on how the money will be spent will be laid out when he presents his budget next week, he revealed that $220 million of it will go toward increasing the salaries of police officers across the state. He also said $137 million will provide a 50% increase in state police aid to local jurisdictions statewide.
“We will be introducing legislation to make that 50% increase in police aid permanent so that the next governor won’t be able to cut it,” Hogan said.
Hogan, a Republican, also said $50 million will pay for improvements at Maryland State Police barracks; $37 million will fund victim services providers; and $30 million will go toward neighborhood safety grants that pay for things such as lighting, cameras and increased security services for community organizations, business districts and main streets.
Hogan’s initial plan, announced last October, called for $150 million to be put toward law enforcement. After that announcement, several leading Democratic lawmakers, including Senate President Bill Ferguson, criticized the “re-fund the police” slogan and accused the governor of using “divisive rhetoric.”
Hogan also announced the re-introduction of two crime bills that failed to make it out of previous sessions of the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.
The Violent Firearms Offender Act, Hogan said, will bring tougher penalties for those convicted of crimes involving illegal guns, and those who supply the weapons; the Judicial Transparency Act will require more tracking and public posting of sentences handed down by judges for violent crimes.
“We really need the legislature to act on these crime bills, so that we can hold judges and criminals accountable,” Hogan said.
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