President Clinton has given a boost to County Executive John G. Gary's plan to put more police officers on Anne Arundel's streets.
The county will receive $900,000 through the 1994 federal anti-crime law to hire 12 officers in October, officials announced yesterday. The grant will pay their salaries, benefits and training for three years.
Those positions are in addition to the 14 new officers and six police clerks and technicians the County Council approved during budget deliberations last spring.
Most of the 26 new officers will be placed on patrol when they complete their training next spring, said Capt. David Shipley, commander of the county police department's administrative services division.
The county also will hire two detectives to investigate child abuse and murder cases.
When Anne Arundel completes its hiring this fall, it will have 597 sworn officers, Captain Shipley said.
In response to public fears, the federal crime law proposes to put 100,000 additional police on the street within five years. Maryland jurisdictions, including Anne Arundel County, have received federal grants to hire more than 200 officers.
Annapolis and Crofton also have received federal money to hire additional police.
Yesterday, Mr. Gary described the federal award as a "pleasant surprise."
The down side, he said, is that the county eventually will have to foot the bill for the officers hired with it.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Gary pledged to hire 80 new officers by the end of his four-year term. Yesterday, he said the grant allows him to accelerate his hiring.
"At least I can put them in three years sooner, and that's a big help," he said.
Captain Shipley said the 12 new officers will meet the county's projected manpower needs for fiscal year 1997, which begins next July 1. Those projections, he said, are based on calls for service and response times.
By adding patrols and easing workloads, the additional officers will give their colleagues more time to acquaint themselves with the communities they protect, Captain Shipley said. That is a key element of "community-oriented" policing.
The county also has received a $101,634 grant from the Maryland State Vehicle Theft Prevention Council. Captain Shipley said the grant will enable the county to double the time it keeps its helicopter patrols in the sky and set up a garage where it can take recovered stolen vehicles to search for identifying numbers.