On Monday, January 10th, Governor Larry Hogan detailed a series of policing initiatives his office intends to pursue during the 2022 Maryland General Assembly (MGA) session.
The package will likely impact local governments significantly, particularly with respect to county budgets. According to a press release, the initiative will include the following for counties and local communities:
- $220 million for 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
- $137 million for a 50% increase in state police aid to local jurisdictions statewide
- $37 million to fully fund victim services providers
- $30 million in Neighborhood Safety Grants to support hardware upgrades, lighting, cameras, and increased security services for community organizations, business districts, and main streets
As previously announced, the initiative also includes:
- $24 million to create a new Accountability Resources Fund, which will be used to provide more body cams, de-escalation training, and other critical tools for state and local police agencies
- $1 million for the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association to further expand operational training and support
Several state-specific items are also included:
- $50 million for major capital improvements for Maryland State Police barracks and a new tactical services building for the Special Operations Division
- A 100% state-funded match for all Crime Stoppers rewards that lead to arrests
Additional items will be included in the Governor’s fiscal year 2023 budget. Furthermore, the Governor intends to introduce legislation concerning firearms, judicial transparency, and police funding.
During the 2021 MGA session, MACo opposed HB 187 Public Safety – Law Enforcement – Body-Worn Cameras due to the costs associated with procuring body-worn cameras and resources necessary to ensure proper storage of camera footage. Both Delegate Jazz Lewis (Prince George’s County) and Senator Charles Sydnor (Baltimore County) have introduced legislation intended to reduce the financial burden on local governments and establish standards of review for body camera footage, respectively.