ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan on Friday launched a new initiative to boost resources for law enforcement across Maryland.
Hogan dubbed it "Refund the Police," in reference to the growing national "Defund the Police" movement which he called "far-left lunacy."
The initiative calls for $150 million in funding towards increased crime control, victim protection services, and pay raises for state law enforcement.
Additionally, Hogan says he wants the state to match 100 percent of all Crime Stoppers rewards, in hopes more witnesses will come forward to help police close cases.
Broken down, the overall initiative would provide:
- $50 million to fund salary increases and hiring bonuses to ensure competitive compensation for state police agencies.
- $45 million for a 50% increase in state police aid to local jurisdictions.
- $24 million to create an Accountability Resources Fund for body cams, de-escalation training.
- $1 million for Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and Maryland Sheriff's Association to expand operational training and support.
- $10 million in Neighborhood Safety Grants through the State Department of Housing’s Main Street Maryland Program for hardware upgrades and increased security services for business districts.
- $14 million in ARPA funds to restore the drastic cuts by Congress to VOCA funding.
- $6 million to restore cuts by the Maryland General Assembly for critical victims programs and initiatives.
“The reality is that our police are underfunded and under attack," said Hogan. "To reverse the tide of rising crime, we need to stop demonizing and sabotaging the dedicated men and women who risk their lives every single day to keep the rest of us safe. We cannot defund the police, we need to re-fund the police.”
Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones pushed back, saying Hogan's comments were "beneath him and the dignity of his office."
Jones argued that Hogan was trying to "politicize" a legislative package passed during the last General Assembly, which enacted a number of police reforms, including a repeal of the 1974 Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights.
Those laws officially went into effect on October 1.
One has already been put to the test. On Monday, an independent team of investigators within the Maryland Attorney General’s Office which now reviews all incidents of deadly police force, received their first two cases.
The new legislation also allows public access to some police disciplinary files that were previously off limits.
Hogan has often criticized the high level of crime in Baltimore City, and did so again Friday.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called the governor's latest remarks, "uninformed rhetoric [that] understates the value of ongoing comprehensive public safety efforts under [his] leadership."
Scott added the money Hogan promised to fight crime, will solve nothing unless other progress is made.
“Simply dispensing money will not solve anything unless that investment is met with real leadership, accountability, and the willingness to make tough decisions."
In the coming weeks, Hogan vowed to take more steps that he says would hold violent criminals, prosecutors, and judges more accountable as it relates to the criminal justice system.
Hogan's entire announcement can be viewed below.