The Harford County Democratic Central Committee is calling on our local leaders to spend county resources more effectively. Instead of further militarizing the police with additional armored vehicles, the more than $400,000 for the sheriff’s office to purchase a second armored vehicle should be spent toward public and mental health, education, housing relief or economic development in Harford County.
The continuing costs of maintaining and repairing the armored vehicle are more resources that should be going toward Harford County residents. The armored vehicle that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office currently has is more than capable of keeping our dedicated officers safe, especially considering the additional support available to them from entities like the Maryland National Guard (located in Harford County) and partnering jurisdictions.
According to The Aegis, the current armored vehicle “finds use in active shootings, armed barricade situations and with the Sheriff’s Special Response Team” and is used for about 100 to 125 operations a year. The FBI reported zero active shooter situations in 2019 for Harford County. The Sheriff’s Office’s 2019 Annual Report cited that the Special Response Team responded to just eight barricade missions that year. The report also said the Special Response Team only had 120 missions in 2019 and the vast majority (77) of those missions were Harford County search warrants.
This data indicates that our current armored vehicle gets minimal use for what it was intended for ... which is a good thing! Nobody questions the need for one armored vehicle to protect our officers when it’s needed. Still, Harford County does not need an additional armored vehicle on standby just for the sake of having it, especially when we can be putting those resources to better use for county residents.
Consider the fact that Harford County and its municipalities continually rank at or near the top of the safest communities in Maryland, and the justification for a second vehicle doesn’t add up. The HCDCC will continue to work for the common good by advocating for county resources being spent more effectively to support Harford County and its residents.
The author is the chair of the Harford County Democratic Central Committee, writing on behalf of the entire committee.