A new Anne Arundel County central booking facility near Annapolis will streamline corrections processes for several police and law enforcement agencies.
The $11.1 million facility will serve the Anne Arundel and Annapolis police departments, the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office, the Glen Burnie and Annapolis barracks of the Maryland State Police and Natural Resources Police.
The Jennifer Road facility will allow law enforcement officers to forego the lengthy process of transporting people to a district station and then to a courthouse before jail, if necessary. Instead, officers can bring the arrested person straight to Central Booking for processing.
The detention center staff will take custody of the person and bring them to a probable cause hearing. Officers will be free to return to patrol.
The man-hours saved would amount to 35 additional officers back on the job, said County Executive Steve Schuh at a ground-breaking event.
Anne Arundel County detention facilities Superintendent Terry Kokolis said the new facility will centralize booking, which currently takes place at 10 locations around the county. The facility would also allow those arrested to avoid a record related to incarceration.
“One of the greatest obstacles is generally not so much the arrest record because the arrest record can disappear — but the incarceration record can’t,” Kokolis said.
Central Booking will provide a greater opportunity for individuals to see a court commissioner and get released, Kokolis said. If an arrestee is detained, officials will hold them in central booking instead of incarcerating him. The lack of an incarceration record will lift a common roadblock to employment, Kokolis said.
The facility will cost $11.1 million and occupy 17,000 square feet at the site of the Jennifer Road Detention Center. It is scheduled for completion in fall 2019.
The state has in its budget for fiscal 2019 included bond funding for $2 million of the cost. State funding will cover about half of the project in total, which the county will match.
Schuh proposed the facility with a slate of other capital projects in his fiscal 2016 plan. The County Council in 2015 voted to transition to a 30-year bond model, allowing the county to extend the life of its bonds and finance further capital projects. The move was controversial at the time, as it extends the county’s debt service and adds a projected $50 million in interest.
The county executive Thursday praised the council’s wisdom in moving forward with the policy, which has allowed the county to break ground on the booking facility and a new police academy.
“The bigger issue is that Anne Arundel County neglected its basic infrastructure for decades,” Schuh said. “We have for the last three years been engaged in a vigorous effort to get out of a hole that took 30 years to dig.”
The Gibson Island Republican is campaigning for a second term as county executive. He will run uncontested in the June primary, and face Democrat Stuart Pittman in the November general election.
Pittman said the project, proposed by former County Executive Laura Newman in her 2014 budget address, is a “long time coming” and “worth the cost to taxpayers.” But called the claim that the facility will add 35 officers back to the beat a “stretch.”
“(Adding officers) can only be done by fulfilling the promise Steve Schuh made to voters in his 2014 campaign,” Pittman wrote in a statement. “He promised to grow the force from under 700 to 800 within four years.”
There were 740 funded police positions in the department, said Owen McEvoy, a spokesman for the county executive
Pittman said salaries and benefits to match other counties will attract further recruits to grow the police force.
McEvoy said the county executive’s office intends to build upon the 35 additional personnel in the next budget.
“Public safety personnel have seen an average increase in pay of nearly 10 percent over the last three years,” he added.