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'Tactless Finger Pointing': Baltimore Officials Push Back On Hogan's Criticisms Of The City During 'Re-Fund The Police' Announcement

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Blasting Baltimore City as a "poster child for the basic failure to stop lawlessness," Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday proposed directing an additional $150 million to law enforcement agencies in a counter to the "defund the police" movement.

The money would go toward pay raises and bonuses for officers, police department recruitment programs, body cameras and de-escalation training, victims' services and other initiatives.

"Thinking that you can improve law enforcement by defunding the police is like saying that you want to improve education by defunding the schools," Hogan said. "It's absurd and ridiculous."

The Baltimore Police Department's budget rose by $28 million this year.

Without calling them out by name, Hogan also criticized City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who recently suggested disbanding and abolishing the department entirely, and Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who the governor said "refuses to prosecute crime."

"They're on pace to surpass 300 homicides again this year," he said. "The Baltimore Police Department is short-staffed by more than 300 officers."

Baltimore City officials pushed back on Hogan's remarks, with some arguing that hiring more police officers doesn't address the root causes of the city's high crime. Here's a rundown of some of the responses.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called Hogan's remarks "tactless finger pointing" and said the Baltimore Police Department has cleared 220 violent crime cases in the last 90 days.

"Simply dispensing money will not solve anything unless that investment is met with real leadership, accountability, and the willingness to make tough decisions," he said.

Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, who lives in Baltimore, suggested "improving public safety isn't about just writing a bigger check," and said a broader strategy would recognize that "poverty and opportunity shape the outcome of individuals."

Baltimore City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett told WJZ that adding more officers doesn't address the root causes of crime.

"It's often economic issues that people are facing, addiction issues that people are facing, housing insecurity — I mean, there's any number of issues that we could be investing hundreds of millions of dollars into," he said.

Del. Stephanie Smith, who represents the 45th District, slammed Hogan's proposals as "performative hand-wringing about the devastating impacts of violent crime" and said the governor hasn't adequately invested in public transportation and education, "the things that create & connect people to opportunity."

City Councilman Antonio Glover started out by defining the "defund the police" movement, saying it is "all about divesting the overinflated police budget and investing that money in other sectors. This will allow the police to do actual police work, and not that of mental health specialists and social service workers."

Glover also tied the city's levels of violence to a lack of high-paying jobs and disinvestment in local infrastructure.

Dorsey suggested a different type of refund.

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