Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan introduces 'Refund the Police' initiative, met with pushback

A boost in funding is on the way for police agencies across the state of Maryland to combat violent crime and also assist victims of crime. However, not everyone supports the idea.

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It's part of Governor Larry Hogan's $150 million "Refund the Police" initiative he outlined on Friday. He says to keep crime down and people safe, police need more funding.

"Enough is enough. We cannot defund the police," Hogan said. "We need to refund the police."

Calls for defunding the police grew in the summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd.

There were few cities and counties in Maryland that either considered or had proposals on the table to reduce police funding for other programs, such as the city of Baltimore and Prince George's and Montgomery Counties.

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"Trying to reduce crime by defunding police is dangerous radical far-left lunacy," Hogan said. "Thinking you can improve law enforcement by defunding the police is like saying that you want to improve education by defunding the schools."

Some highlights of Gov. Hogan's initiative include:

- $50 million to fund salary increases and hiring bonuses for state police agencies

- $45 million for local jurisdictions to increase police aid

- $24 million to create an accountability resources fund to provide body cameras, de-escalation training and more

- $10 million in neighborhood safety grants to make hardware upgrades, lighting, cameras and security services for community organizations, business districts and main streets

- $20 million for victim protection

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Gov. Hogan says with a rise in crime nationwide, its more important than ever to have officers on the streets and departments with more funding.

But the governor's statements Friday had some, like Zakyia Sankara-Jabar, shaking their heads.

"That literally makes no sense," she says. "The police come after the crime, generally not before."

Sankara-Jabar is the co-founder of Racial Justice NOW and says she'd rather there be a decrease in police funding and policing in general.

"Just historically, policing as it relates to black people in this country has always been extremely punitive," she says. "You’d be hard-pressed to find large black communities across the country where there is a congenial positive relationship with the police."

Some feel state leaders should focus on investing in programs to prevent crimes.

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Danielle Blocker is the executive director for Young People for Progress, a group that campaigns to make improvements to the community. 

"If so many people are crying out and even in the streets saying our policing system isn’t working and our policing as we’re doing it now isn’t making us safer, it seems very out of touch to then increase their funding even more," she says, "instead of putting that same money into things that could create systems of safety in the community like housing, childcare, healthcare, especially in a pandemic."

She says she doesn't believe the answer is more police.

"When we say defund policing and reinvest in community, that’s what we mean," she says. "We want things that will actually create safety rather than police safety after the fact."


Gov. Hogan also said he wants the legislature to pass tougher laws to hold violent criminals accountable.

He says some of the funding will go out right away and some will have to be in the budget submitted in January.