(The Center Square) – Maryland’s governor is doubling down on his tough stance on crime.
Gov. Larry Hogan is expanding the Re-Fund The Police Initiative to a 3-year, $500 million program that calls for increased support for law enforcement. The program would raise crime control efforts and provide more protection for victims around the state.
“Even in the most progressive cities all across the country, leaders are now following our lead and admitting that instead of defunding, they need more investment in public safety,” Hogan said in a news release. “There is nothing more important than addressing the violent crime crisis in our state and our effort to re-fund the police and to give them the support and the resources they need to do their jobs more effectively.”
Meanwhile, the governor also said he will be reintroducing violent crime legislation that would address firearms violence and judicial transparency.
The Re-Fund The Police initiative calls for $220 million to be spent on “historic salary increases and bonuses” for law enforcement officials to aid in recruitment and retention, in addition to a police scholarship program.
Hogan is calling for $137 million to be spent for a 50% increase in state police assistance to aid local jurisdictions throughout the state, in addition to spending $50 million on capital improvements for state police barracks and a new tactical services facility for the Special Operations Division.
Hogan plans to spend $37 million to fund victim service providers and an additional $30 million in Neighborhood Safety grants, according to the release. The grants will assist groups with hardware upgrades, lighting, cameras, and increase security measures for community organizations, business districts, main streets and downtowns.
Today, I am strongly urging the leaders of Baltimore City and the legislature to put politics aside and finally pass these emergency crime bills. Keeping Marylanders safe is our number one priority. pic.twitter.com/wbAEq3kBqw— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) January 10, 2022
As part of the Re-Fund The Police efforts, the program will also feature a 100% state-funded match for Crime Stoppers rewards leading to arrests, and $24 million to create the Accountability Resources Fund. The fund will provide for wider use of body cameras, de-escalating training, and other tools for law enforcement officials at the state and local levels.
The Chief of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association will receive $1 million to expand operating training efforts and support, according to the release.
Hogan also said he will be reintroducing legislation, according to the release, that if adopted would call for tougher penalties in violent crimes when an illegally possess firearm is used, and for tougher penalties on individuals who supply illegal guns to criminals.
The governor will also be re-introducing the Judicial Transparency Act, which would require the Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy to track and publish information pertaining to sentences handed down by the courts, according to the release.
Hogan said he is working to make the Re-Fund The Police Act permanent.