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Harford Sheriff, County Executive clash over new precinct funding

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Posted at 10:19 AM, Apr 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-01 08:31:29-04

BEL AIR, Md. — Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler is accusing County Executive Bob Cassilly of "defunding the police."

Gahler alleges Cassilly is refusing to move forward on a "critical public safety project," he claims was previously approved in the 2023 fiscal capital budget.

The project consists of renovating the old HEAT Center on Technology Drive in Aberdeen, and transforming it into a third precinct and new state-of-the-art training academy for the Sheriff's Office.

When completed deputies assigned to the new precinct would handle all calls for service from Abingdon and Riverside, to the Bel Air, Churchville and Level areas along with Aberdeen and Havre de Grace.

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As for the training academy, Gahler says it's needed to "meet the ever-growing legislative training mandates required of our law enforcement, correctional and civilian personnel."

The project was estimated to cost around $22.5 million. Gahler says Cassilly failed to include the funding in his proposed FY24 budgetreleased last week.

Cassilly in a press release called public safety his top priority, while stressing there would be no tax increases.

He claims the budget includes salary increases and more staffing for the Sheriff’s Office, specifically 10 new deputies, pay scale enhancements, and additional overtime pay, as well as 13 new positions for the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Gahler expressed his concerns with the County Council Tuesdayafternoon.