James Carafano, a defense and homeland security research analyst for Washington's conservative Heritage Foundation, said it shouldn't be the federal government's job to build up city police forces, as O'Malley suggests.
It's right, he said, for Baltimore to pay for extra intelligence agents and east-side surveillance cameras.
Federal homeland security money is intended for things that plug into a national terrorism defense system, Carafano said, such as first-responder training, command centers and communications systems that benefit the nation as a whole.
"These dollars should only go to what makes all Americans safer," he said.
O'Malley likes to refer to a 2003 report - "Emergency Responders: Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared" - by a Council on Foreign Relations task force as evidence that Washington is shirking its duty.
The report concluded that Congress' five-year plan to spend $27 billion on emergency preparedness needed an additional $98 billion.
Nonetheless, O'Malley said, while the 9/11 money has been coming in, the size of local law enforcement block grants coming from Washington has shrunk.
The Baltimore Police Department went from $1.5 million in block grants in October 2001 to $567,000 in October 2005.
"If you want my opinion," said O'Malley, who's never shy to share it, "Washington is funding this on the cheap."