Anne Arundel councilmen seek boost to police force

Anne Arundel County Council members are pressing for a 10 percent increase in the county’s police force.

Councilman Derek Fink says he’ll introduce a resolution Monday encouraging the county executive to add 5 percent more officers in each of the next two years. He said he’s lined up Councilman Richard Ladd and Council Chairman John Grasso as co-sponsors. Four votes are needed for a measure to pass.

“I think it’s important to get more officers in the county, especially as we’re seeing more drugs, including heroin, and all the crimes associated with that such as precious-metal thefts and breaking and entering,” said Fink, a Pasadena Republican.

Fink’s district in the northeastern portion of the county also has seen three homicides in recent days: The death of 21-year-old Ana Isabel Racine in Riviera Beach last Sunday and a murder-suicide in Marley on Monday that left 51-year-old Michael Allen Nelson and 52-year-old Thomas Alan Goat dead.

The Anne Arundel Police Department has 679 sworn officers, so the increase over two years would be 67 officers.

Fink estimates the additional officers would cost $5.6 million each year for salaries and benefits. There also would be a one-time cost of $3.7 million for additional police cars, uniforms, guns and other equipment for the new officers, Fink said.

Such resolutions are nonbinding, meaning County Executive Laura Neuman would not be required to follow the recommendation. The resolution effectively is a public communication to Neuman about what council members would like to see in her next budget.

“At the end of the day, the county executive has to fund it,” Fink said. “We can’t do it on our own.”

The County Council also is considering a resolution sponsored by Grasso encouraging the revival of the police cadet program.

County Police Chief Kevin Davis has said he supports the initiative and is looking for ways to fund a new 10-person cadet unit. Cadets are 18 to 21 years old and can help with some police duties but don’t have arrest powers.

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