By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan this month laid out a $150 million plan to make Maryland safer by “re-funding the police.” Now the state is rolling out the first piece of that plan.

The Maryland State Police announced Wednesday that starting pay for trooper candidates will go up next year from $35,000 to $51,000, which represents a 45-percent salary increase. Upon graduation from the academy, troopers will be paid $55,700. The pay raise takes effect Jan. 1.

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The goal is to help recruit qualified applicants to join the ranks of the state police agency.

“Today, we are taking the first step in implementing our $150 million Re-Fund The Police Initiative by ensuring that we offer more competitive salaries to the troopers who will be putting their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe,” Hogan said in a statement. “We need more investment in public safety so that we can recruit and retain quality officers, increase diversity, expand community policing efforts, improve training, and provide better technology and equipment.”

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Salary increases are just a piece of the governor’s plan, which calls for the following spending:

  • $50 million for salary increases and hiring bonuses for state police agencies;
  • $45 million to increase police aid to local jurisdictions by 50 percent statewide;
  • $24 million to create a fund to purchase body cameras and expand training;
  • $20 million for victim protection programs;
  • $10 million for neighborhood safety grants;
  • $1 million for the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association & Maryland Sheriffs’ Association.

Hogan has billed the $150 million spending plan as a way to help jurisdictions throughout the state combat violent crime and maintain public safety. He said it will “provide a desperately needed shot in the arm to our state and local police agencies.”

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Applications are open for the MSP’s next academy class, which is set to begin in January. To qualify, trooper applicants must be at least 20 years old, a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma or GED, have a valid driver’s license and a clean background check.

CBS Baltimore Staff