Maryland State Police troopers could soon return to Annapolis.
Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced funding for 100 new troopers and plans to reopen Barrack J in Maryland's capital city. The barrack was closed in 2008 as part of a cost-saving measure.
The Republican governor announced the funding at a swearing-in ceremony Thursday afternoon for Col. William M. Pallozzi as the new superintendent of Maryland State Police. It still needs to be approved by the House and Senate.
"By reopening the Annapolis barrack and increasing the number of Maryland state troopers, we will have a greater police presence on our roadways and in our local communities," Hogan said.
Hogan said the supplemental budget will provide an additional $6.8 million to recruit, train and equip 100 troopers. These troopers will be added through two classes, the first of which is scheduled for graduation this year, Hogan's office said.
The measure will also provide an additional $1.4 million to reopen Barrack J. Thirty-three troopers would be stationed at the Annapolis barrack.
There are 22 State Police barracks, including one in Glen Burnie.
Del. Ted Sophocleus, D-Linthicum, said he agrees with Hogan that the Annapolis barrack is needed.
"When you're at the state capital, the runs are a little far for the state troopers (in Glen Burnie)," he said. "We should have a presence here in Annapolis."
The governor has instructed Pallozzi to begin restoring Barrack J to an operational state within the next few months.
The building near the corner of Taylor Avenue and Roscoe Rowe Boulevard is occupied by the Annapolis Public Works Department.
Public Works Director David Jarrell said about 30 employees who work in the utilities department are on the first floor and basement of the building. They began leasing the building from the state in 2011 after the Spa Road facility was condemned.
"(The state) made it very clear to us when we moved in that they were providing it to us on a temporary basis," he said. "They've been very generous to let us use that building in the interim."
The announcement has accelerated the timeline for the department to find a new location. The department is considering the former Capital-Gazette Communications building at 2000 Capital Drive — or demolishing the old Spa Road location and rebuilding.
Jarrell said the Spa Road option has funding for $4.5 million. But moving into the building on Capital Drive is more cost-efficient because the building already exists, he said.
State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said the agency still owns the building and would work with the Annapolis Public Works Department to ensure a smooth transition.
"This isn't something that's going to happen overnight," Shipley said. "In the meantime, that agency wold have plenty of time to make other arrangements."
Shipley said the Glen Burnie barrack would maintain coverage in north county while the Annapolis barrack would patrol southern portions of the county.
"We certainly had two barracks in that county working effectively before, so this would be much of the same," he said.
State officials have not been in the building yet, a Hogan spokeswoman said. Major construction isn't expected.
State Police will have to get radio and computer equipment, and determine what remains in the motor vehicle garage repair area that might need to be replaced or acquired.
The Maryland State Police force is 1,556 men and women in uniform. The actions taken through the supplemental budget will bring the force to 1,656 troopers—a level not seen for more than a dozen years, Hogan's office said.
"Governor Hogan's announcement today regarding additional personnel and resources is a clear and welcome indication of this administration's commitment to public safety and to the Maryland State Police," Pallozzi said in a statement.
In 2014, Maryland state troopers made more than 19,000 criminal arrests and recovered almost 2,000 illegal guns.
The Regional Automated Property Information Database coordinated by the Maryland State Police assisted in the arrests of more than 1,700 criminals and the recovery of $6.7 million worth of stolen property in 2014.
The Maryland State Police Aviation Command completed its transition to the new helicopter fleet ahead of schedule and last year flew 2,200 patients to lifesaving care. It also helped to find 123 lost or missing people in 2014.
The internationally accredited Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division Crime Laboratory analyzed 21,139 cases last year, 72 percent of which were for local police departments in the state.
Staff writer Brandi Bottalico contributed to this story.