Press Release: Leopold Again Misses Chance to Improve Public Safety

Leopold Again Misses Chance to Improve Public Safety

Annapolis (10/13/10): “John Leopold has missed another opportunity to improve public safety in Anne Arundel County,” says Joanna Conti, Democratic nominee for county executive.  Last year, Leopold failed to apply for federal grants that would have paid full salary and benefits for three years for up to 50 additional law enforcement officers, thereby disqualifying the county from consideration during the 2010 awards process.

“Unfortunately, Anne Arundel County was not among the localities announced last week who received $298 million in federal grants to fund 1,388 additional law enforcement officers,” says Conti.  “That’s because, to be eligible, local governments had to have applied for the first round of grants in 2009, which Leopold didn’t bother to do.”

In 2009, Prince George’s County and Baltimore City each received over $10 million in funding to pay for 50 additional police officers for three years.  Receiving jurisdictions must commit to keep these officers on the force for one additional year.  “Four years of police protection for the price of one is a tremendous bargain that I would have jumped at”, said Conti.

Anne Arundel County has only half the number of police officers per capita as other counties across the country.   While violent crime has decreased by 7.3% in the last two years in the rest of the country, it has increased by 2.3% in Anne Arundel County.

If elected, Conti has promised as part of her Commitment to Anne Arundel County to improve public safety by resurrecting the Tactical Patrol Units and Tactical Narcotics Teams in the District Offices, hiring and training enough police officers to fill budgeted positions, adequately staffing fire stations, and investing in productivity-improving technology such as GPS units for police cars, fire engines and ambulances. 

The COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and is designed to advance community policing by providing grants directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law enforcement officers.  CHRP grants provide 100 percent funding for salaries and benefits for three years.  On Sept. 30, the COPS program announced the winning 2010 localities, which, in total, received $298 million in grant money funding 1,388 officer positions.

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