Governor Larry Hogan announced the expansion of his Re-Fund The Police Initiative from a $150 million initiative to a $500 million, three-year initiative to increase support for law enforcement, crime control and victim protection services.
Following his announcement on Monday, many Marylanders have responded to Governor Hogan's decision with the same question: how do you re-fund something that was never defunded?
In 2020, Baltimore, the most populous city in Maryland, defunded its police department by roughly $22 million and Washington D.C. cut its police budget by $15 million.
Governor Hogan was not in support of Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott's decision to cut the police department's budget. "That is the worst possible thing we could do to stop the violent crime in Baltimore City," he told Fox News in 2020.
Baltimore City surpassed 300 homicides in 2021 for the seventh year in a row, to which Governor Hogan responded with a list of actions he would take to address such violent crime. Actions from his Re-Fund The Police Initiative were included in that plan.
The governor’s expanded three-year, Re-Fund The Police Initiative includes some of the same initiatives, with lots of additional funding, and some new initiatives than his original plan announced in October 2021.
$220 million will now go towards historic salary increases and bonuses for law enforcement officers to help ensure more competitive compensation and to help with recruitment and retention, as well as police scholarship programs. This is a $170 million increase from the governor's original plan where $50 million was allocated for this purpose.
Other initiatives that will receive an increase in funding are the Neighborhood Safety Grant to support security upgrades, which will get an additional $20 million, and funds to increase police aid in local jurisdictions to 50% statewide, which will receive an additional $92 million.
New initiatives added to the plan are $50 million for major capital improvements for Maryland State Police barracks and a new tactical service building for the Special Operations Division, and $37 million to fully fund victim services providers.
Funding to create a new Accountability Resources Fund to provide more body cams and de-escalation training, and funding to expand operational training and support for the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association has not changed.
Governor Hogan also announced he will reintroduce legislation to address violent crime during the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly. He will also introduce the Re-Fund The Police Act to make the increase in local aid permanent.