At his budget announcement Friday morning, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich made a brief introduction, but abruptly shifted gears to talk about how the county would respond to the violence in New Zealand.
“Look, I’m going to start today on more somber note,” he told the audience in Rockville, Maryland. “I recognize that there were these mass shootings in New Zealand, and that — you know, 49 people were killed.”
Elrich said there was no information that mosques in the county were facing any threats, but explained that police presence would be increased for Friday prayers.
“And next week I’ll be announcing $200,000 in security grants to faith-based organizations in the county,” he said.
Elrich explained that those grants were not something new, they had been planned before news broke about the shootings in New Zealand.
This is not the first time Montgomery County has provided security grants to faith-based organizations.
In 2017, when Jewish schools, community centers and synagogues were targeted in bomb threats across the country, then-County Executive Ike Leggett suggested similar funding for security measures.
WTOP’s Kate Ryan reported from Washington.