Democrats criticized Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan for “refunding police” Friday, calling it “misguided” and “divisive rhetoric.”
Hogan announced a $150 million plan to provide additional support to Maryland’s law enforcement agencies and victims of violent crime across the state at a press conference Friday. The initiative directs tens of millions of dollars to local police aid, neighborhood safety grants, body camera and other accountability measures for officers and other programs.
“Our $150 million refund the police initiative will provide a desperately needed shot in the arm to our state and local police agencies. But there is far more work to be done,” Hogan said from a news conference in Annapolis. “Trying to reduce crime by defunding police is dangerous, radical, far-left lunacy. Thinking that you can improve law enforcement by defunding the police is like saying you want to improve education by defunding the schools.”
We cannot view the issue of public safety through a binary sense. We can increase accountability/transparency & invest in public safety. We are both grateful for the service of law enforcement and weary from the pain of police brutality. Our reforms must take both into account. https://t.co/Vpmfa7AzvL
— Senator Will Smith (District 20) (@Willcsmithjr) October 15, 2021
State Democrats quickly blasted the proposal. House Speaker Adrienne Jones of Baltimore County said Hogan’s “misguided rhetoric” was beneath him and the dignity of his office. Senate President Bill Ferguson, who represents Baltimore City, leveled a similar criticism, labeling the announcement as “divisive rhetoric.”
“Divisive rhetoric does not make us safer, and we hope the Administration will join us moving forward to focus on problem solving,” Ferguson said.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called Hogan’s announcement an example of “uninformed rhetoric,” although he said he welcomed more funding for public safety. (RELATED: Maryland Becomes First State To Repeal ‘Police Bill Of Rights’ After Overriding GOP Governor’s Veto)
“Governor Hogan’s persistent reliance on uninformed rhetoric understates the value of ongoing comprehensive public safety efforts under my leadership,” Scott said. “Tackling violence in Baltimore requires vast coordination among state and federal partners, not tactless finger pointing.”
Baltimore County’s annual murder rate had nearly doubled as of this summer.