County Executive Alsobrooks Outlines Commitment to Public Safety Amid Budget Deficits
Over the course of my administration, we’ve focused our County spending on the Proud Priorities, a set of promises we’ve made to the people of Prince George’s County. In practice, our budget has made critical investments in education, safe neighborhood programs, economic development, and improving all Prince Georgians' quality of life. At the same time, we’ve worked to build a stronger financial foundation through each budget cycle, prioritizing investments that help improve our finances as we work to grow Prince George’s economy.
During the upcoming budget cycle, we’re anticipating a sizeable budget deficit. It’s too early to say exactly what amount the deficit will be, but what I can tell you is this; communities across the state and across the country are dealing with the exact same problem.
Looking forward, Maryland Governor Wes Moore outlined his concerns on the State of Maryland’s budget this past summer. He noted that there are structural problems with our current budget allocations, but that, “The trouble underneath the surface was masked by federal cash and big stock gains during COVID.”
Last Year's Budget Deficits
Budget deficits are nothing new. Dealing with them calls for planning and prudence. Our community navigates the budget process every year by balancing spending with revenue in a way that best serves Prince Georgians.
During the budget process last year, like many families sitting around the kitchen table, we had to make difficult choices. Even though we faced a shortfall, we never compromised on funding for public safety.
Police Department Funding
Our final budget included $390 million dollars in funding for our Police Department, a 6% increase over last year’s budget. That funding supports four new recruit classes for a total of 120 new officers, as well as continued recruitment incentives for new officers. In addition, we provided funding for the Police Explorers Program to expose young people to positive interactions with our police officers and potential careers in law enforcement.
This past year, we opened a new canine training facility, as well as a new vehicle training facility for officers. We also broke ground on a new Special Operations Division Center. My administration remains committed to ensuring our public safety agencies have the resources they need to effectively serve our communities and keep residents safe. Even amid budget constraints, replacing aging public safety infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities is a high priority.
We also know that when our residents have a fire or medical emergency, they rely on the swift response of our Fire/EMS Department. That’s why we allocated $261 million to our Fire/EMS Department, an increase of more than 8% over last year. That funding will support three new recruit classes for a total of 96 new firefighters.
State's Attorney Funding
The State’s Attorney’s Office received $25.3 million in funding last year, an increase of nearly 14% over the prior year’s budget, which is one of the largest percentage increases of any County agency. This funding helped support the hiring of six new Assistant State’s Attorneys (ASAs) and the retention of current ASAs, as well as the creation of a new unit within the office. We delivered on this important funding for the State’s Attorney’s Office to ensure they have the resources they need to hold people accountable who commit acts of violence against our community.
This Year's Budget
As we approach this year’s budget cycle, we are considering multiple options to close the gap. None of the options we’re considering include cuts to public safety funding. Amid an ongoing nationwide shortage, we need more police officers and firefighters, not less.
At the end of the day, budgets are about priorities. Over the past few years, we’ve made historic investments in public safety while working to transform our Police Department to better serve the needs of this community. During a time when rising crime remains a top concern of families across our region and across the nation, my administration remains committed to the men and women who keep Prince George’s County safe.
Yours in Service,
Prince George’s County Executive