Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) slammed recent remarks by Gov. Larry Hogan in which he said that proposals to defund police departments are among the “worst ideas” he has “ever heard.”
“It’s somewhat surprising that the governor of Maryland could be that blind and tone-deaf to the realities of our current state of policing and the way it has miserably failed the public,” Carter told MarylandReporter.com in an interview on Friday.
Carter, who sits on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, added: “I think that’s a typical antiquated conservative view of law and order and its 19th-century thinking. The model that we have doesn’t work.”
MarylandReporter.com reached out to Hogan for comment but he has yet to respond to Carter’s criticism. However, Hogan, who has not ruled out a run for president in 2024, told Fox News on July 22: “It’s one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. If you want to go after the problems in inner cities and the violent crime and the murders, we’ve got to have more police… If you want to try to recruit and have more diversity, you’ve got to invest more. If you want better training and better equipment and you want, you know, body cams and you want people to have the training and de-escalation, all of that takes money. You want community policing? That’s going to take a bigger investment, not defunding police.”
Since the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd in May the nation has seen mass demonstrations against police misconduct. Some activists have called for diverting some of the funds appropriated for police departments so that that money can instead be used for social and community programs. Opponents of the proposal say it would strip law enforcement of much-needed resources and endanger public safety. Minneapolis and Portland are among several large cities that have voted to defund police departments.
Judicial Proceedings Committee chair Sen. Will Smith (D-Montgomery) emphasized his belief that diverting resources could help improve safety. Smith called Hogan’s remarks “unfortunate.”
“When folks say reallocation of resources or reimagining policing-that in my mind is the best thing you can be doing for public safety and for the police. And, so, if he (Hogan) is against reimagining how we deal with certain incidents-then I think that’s shortsighted and unfortunate.”
Smith said the committee plans to study ways in which certain low-level offenses could possibly be handled without assistance from law enforcement.
“Recommendations we’re going to be looking at will deal with providing or at least identifying resources or ways things can be restructured…you have for instance in Montgomery County a 311 number-or a different number you can call if someone is on a bench or if someone is suffering from a mental health crisis.”
But not everyone said defunding the police is a good idea.
Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County) is of that disposition.
“It’s the worst idea you could do because in every county and in the city of Baltimore-where there’s state troopers also-they’re already understaffed. They’ve been understaffed for years. And defunding them is just saying we are going to invite crime to our cities and our counties which are already bad enough.”
Salling, who is running for Congress in the Second District, said elected officials in the Baltimore area have failed to show adequate support for the police.
“We don’t have anybody that’s really standing up for our police officers. We don’t have a county executive. We don’t have a mayor. We have nobody that I see locally that are supporting our police officers.”