Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said flatly that he does not support efforts to take money from police budgets to support community needs.
The policy change is known as “defund the police," and Hogan said in an interview that he thinks it is “a terrible idea.”
Speaking during a recorded interview with Katie Couric that was broadcast online by TIME magazine on Thursday, Hogan said police, in fact, need more funding to improve recruitment, training and equipment.
Having a more diverse, better-equipped and better-trained police force is the best path forward, the Republican governor said.
“Eliminating or defunding police is not the way,” Hogan said in the interview, which was recorded Tuesday.
The term encompasses a wide array of policy options, ranging from abolishing police departments entirely to reducing police spending in favor of putting more tax dollars into programs such as violence prevention, education and social services. The idea is to prevent crime and handle more conflicts in ways that don’t involve armed police.
The movement to defund police has gained new momentum in Baltimore and elsewhere as demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police have reignited debate over appropriate policing strategies.
Local police departments are largely funded by city and county governments, though they often receive state and federal grants.
Hogan said governments should support police budgets as well as education and social programs.
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The speaker of the House of Delegates assembled a bipartisan task force to consider proposals. And the chairman of the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee outlined a long list of reforms he wants to tackle, from improving civilian oversight of police to banning chokeholds.