Anne Arundel County police officers will once again receive allowances for uniforms, service weapons and physical fitness activities after a County Council vote on Monday.
The allowances will be distributed to the 540 members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 70.
Each member will receive:
- $500 in uniform cleaning
- $780 for service weapons
- $650 for fitness activities
The allowances amount to $1,042,200 and were removed from last year’s budget, but were included in the 2013 fiscal year budget. They were officially reinstated on Monday by the County Council in a unanimous vote.
Police officers who testified before the vote on Monday said they were grateful the allowances were being reinstated, but said it was an amount far short of what was needed.
“This does little to address the depleted morale and paychecks,” said Cpl. O’Brien Atkinson, president of the FOP Lodge 70.
County Councilman Peter Smith (D-1st District) withdrew a bill earlier this month that would have given the FOP and two other police unions raises. Smith said at the time that he could not find enough support from the other members of the council to pass it.
On Monday, Smith said that he was glad the council could do something for officers but it wasn’t enough.
“I’m still feeling unfulfilled,” Smith said. “And the police are feeling shorthanded.”
Smith said that during the next budget season, he wants to see officers get their fair share.
Officer Mike Shier said the allowances come at a time when morale has reached an all-time low in the department.
Police Chief James Teare Sr. recently announced his resignation effective Aug. 1. The other heads of the department are also retiring later this year—including Deputy Chief Emerson Davis, who is set to retire in August, and Deputy Chief David E. Pressley will retire in September.
Maj. Pamela Davis was appointed as the next chief by County Executive John R. Leopold on Wednesday.
Officer Mark Gass said areas of Western District are growing quickly, with residential and commercial districts popping up each month, but no additional officers are hired to compensate for the growth.
“I can’t help but wonder who is going to police these areas.” Gass said. “You're going to have a true crisis on your hands that you may not be able to recover from.”