EASTERN SHORE UNDERCOVER EDITORIAL: GOVERNOR WES MOORE INVESTS IN PUBLIC SAFETY
Annapolis, MD - Earlier today, Governor Wes Moore announced some new initiatives that are being implemented to create a safer community across the State of Maryland. During his press conference, he announced key factors that he is attempting to curb crime, retain tenured officers, hire additional new officers, and has appointed a new Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
To start off, as everyone has heard me say on our social media platforms, Governor Moore emphasized the fact that law enforcement across the state is "stretched remarkably thin." Finding officers to put on the badge is becoming increasingly more difficult and will only become worse in the months to come.
As mentioned by Governor Moore earlier today, the Maryland State Police academy classes have gone from 80-90 recruits down to what the new Governor stated was 19 recruits in the most recent class.
Not only is hiring law enforcement an issue in the State of Maryland but keeping current law enforcement officers in the position has become nearly impossible.
Looking at the Maryland State Police overall, last year, they had 82 Troopers leave the ranks and only replaced them with 47 new Troopers. That is only the Maryland State Police. I am familiar with several of our local agencies here on the shore that have either had officers leave recently or are leaving the position at alarming rates.
I commend the Governor for wanting to take the initiative and doing what he can to fix this egregious problem, but I feel that he is fighting a problem that isn't about finances or hiring someone to lead the way.
In my opinion, it is actually a very simple solution. Law enforcement is, and has always been, a profession that many people wanted to partake in because most officers enjoy serving the community, most love having the stability of a career job, and most love the "hunt" of catching the bad guy.
We can make all the excuses that we want but the reality and the truth of the matter is people don't want to be law enforcement officers anymore because it is too risky on many accounts.
Yes, the job itself is dangerous, but I don't think that plays a role in why it is difficult to recruit bodies in uniform, and I don't think it plays any role in keeping those tenured officers around. I know for a fact that there are many officers from across the state that follow our social media platforms, and if I am wrong, I encourage them to correct me.
The job is inherently dangerous, absolutely, but the reality is people know this when they get into the profession. There are bad people out there that wish to do harm to anyone in a uniform, just because of the badge they pin to their chest each day! But again, that is not the reason why we have issues with retention and hiring new officers to put on the badge and uniform.
In my opinion, the main reason for this issue is those people that are making the laws for our state are taking away the rights and the protections that are afforded to law enforcement officers to do their jobs properly. This has nothing to do with pay, and this has nothing to do with the dangers of the job, the reason we are losing law enforcement officers at an alarming rate and finding it difficult to replace them is that these men and women have no protection for doing the job.
How can we expect people to put on a uniform and ask them to put their lives on the line, but if a complaint is lodged against them, for doing their job, they risk not only losing that job but now, can face criminal charges as a result, of doing what we pay them to do.
There are moral problems across the state in all law enforcement agencies, and it stems from the top, our legislators, our senators, our lawmakers, in Annapolis that are making it impossible for those in uniform to do their job.
It's similar to target practice. We tell these men and women to put on a uniform, and go out and serve our community, but on their backs, we secretly put big targets and wait for them to make the slightest of mistakes so we can scrutinize them and Monday morning quarterback their every move. We have media outlets that literally sit there and wait patiently for someone even remotely to make a mistake, or what they consider a mistake, so they can write their article in hopes of getting a like, a share, and a story to further crucify a profession over the actions of one person.
I am happy to see Governor Moore taking this initiative and immediately facing this issue head-on within the first few months in office, and I commend him for having the ability to admit our state is in severe trouble. I commend him for placing people in their positions to hopefully create a better working environment for all law enforcement, such as today with appointing Lt Colonel Roland Butler as the new Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. Lt Colonel Butler is a 28-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and I am excited to see him lead by experience.
Governor Wes Moore is doing the right thing. He is making sure he has those leaders in a position to make our communities safer and led effectively. Many people may not agree with those individuals who Governor Wes Moore has hired but the fact is, Governor Moore believes in those people and we must to give him a chance to be successful. If he isn't successful, and you don't agree the job he has done, then make your voice heard when the next election roles around, but you have to give the man a chance!
Additionally, he mentioned the importance of clear communication, announcing $11 million dollars in funding for Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) because it is extremely important that everyone works together and there is clear communication among all the agencies in our community.
For those in Wicomico County, those sentiments should sound very familiar, as our County Executive Julie Giordano has stated very similar things in a recent county council meeting, where she was requesting to hire her own liaison which would fill a vacancy in her office.
The funding for this position was already in place, County Executive Giordano was simply creating a better means of communication between various agencies, including law enforcement, detention centers, the executive branch, the legislative branch, and those leaders in our community directly involved in keeping our community safe.
I was vocal after that council meeting because I firmly believe she should be allowed to hire her own staff, the same thing that I am saying today with Governor Wes Moore. She should be able to hire those that she believes in and that she feels are best suited to do that particular job, the same with any leader in our community that is elected into a position. That request by County Executive Giordano was shot down by our Wicomico County Council last night in what has seemingly been a trickle-down effect to a multitude of disagreements and rejections handed down by our current county council.
Whether you agree with Governor Moore, or you agree with County Executive Giordano, we vote these people into office and hold them accountable for their actions by the way we vote, but if we don't allow them to hire their own staff, much like Governor Wes Moore did today and has over the past few weeks, then how can we be upset when these individuals are unable to perform to the job in the manner that they were elected them.