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Top Dem Senate candidate diverted millions from police during crime surge to fund mental health facility

First appeared on FOX: The leading Democratic candidate in this year’s Senate race has diverted millions of dollars from law enforcement to fund mental health facilities, even as crime is soaring.

Prince George’s County Mayor Angela Alsobrooks, who is running to replace retiring Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, announced in June 2020 that $20 million in the county budget already set aside for a new police training facility would be used for mental health and addiction treatment.

In his reassignment announcement, Alsobrooks argued that one-third of inmates at the Prince George’s County Jail suffer from addiction or other mental illnesses and that it’s “unfair” to treat them behind bars, Maryland Matters reported at the time.

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Maryland Democratic Senate candidate and Prince George’s County Mayor Angela Alsobrooks speaks during a Gun Violence Awareness Day campaign event at the Kentland Community Center on June 7, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Andrew Harnick/Getty Images)

The budget shift comes amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody, which prompted Democrats and left-wing activists to call for cuts to police budgets. Violent crime also soared that year, with the murder rate nationwide increasing by a historic 30% from the previous year, according to FBI statistics.

These statistics are similar when considering just Prince George’s County, which saw a 16% increase in overall violent crime from 2019 to 2020, a 58% increase in reported homicides, a 19% increase in reported robberies, and a 15% increase in reported aggravated assaults, according to FBI statistics. The county saw a slight decrease in property crime from 2019 to 2020.

Alsobrooks reiterated her decision to divert the funds several years later during a stand-up call with Ebenezer AME Church, despite the rise in crime across the county.

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Alsobrooks Maryland

From left to right, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Maryland Senate Democratic candidate and Prince George’s County Mayor Angela Alsobrooks, and Vice President Kamala Harris stand onstage together after speaking at a Gun Violence Awareness Day campaign event at the Kentland Community Center on June 7, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Andrew Harnick/Getty Images)

“And one of the things we’ve done while we’ve been in power is we decided to reallocate $20 million from the police training facility. We still have the training facility, but it’s going to be very expensive. And I decided that you can’t treat people in prison,” Also-Brooks said in a January 2022 interview.

“I reallocated the budget with the support of the County Council. The County Council had to vote to approve this. It was also put to your vote in 2020. You all had to approve this. But we reallocated $20 million instead. And now we’re partnering with Luminous Healthcare to open the doors to our new mental health care and addiction treatment facility opening this July so we can actually heal our loved ones instead of treating them in prison.”

Gina Ford, a spokesperson for Alsobrooks, told Fox News Digital, “As Mayor Angela Alsobrooks’ chief law enforcement officer, she has overseen a 50 percent reduction in violent crime. As Mayor, Mayor Angela has also increased the Police Department’s budget by 22 percent during her tenure.”

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Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting on Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/John Locker, File)

Ford’s reference to the decline in violent crime comes during Alsbo-Brooks’ time as Prince George’s County state’s attorney from 2011 to 2018, when violent crime actually fell by 50%.

But since he took office as county executive in 2018, violent crime in the county has increased 30% through 2022, according to FBI statistics.

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Alsobrooks will face former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in the November general election.

Election analysts have rated the race as “likely to favor the Democrats,” but it could remain competitive given Hogan’s favorable ratings as he leaves office in 2023 despite leading a traditionally Democratic state.

Get the latest 2024 election campaign updates, exclusive interviews and more on Fox News Digital’s Election Hub.