Biden: The Answer Is To Fund The Police
President Biden delivered a speech on Police Reform.
Biden was Monday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:
“I just met with this remarkable group of local officials and police chiefs standing alongside me here. We wanted to talk about what they’re doing to reduce violence and to keep our community safe, and how more communities can follow their lead to reduce crime and ensure public safety as we — as we head into the summer.
You know, I’ve worked on these issues for a long time — when I was a United States senator and as Vice President. So — so this group of leaders — Democrats and Republicans — representing big cities and rural counties — we — we actually know what works.
We all agreed, as I’ve said from the outset, that the answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities, investing in crime prevention and accountable community police officers who’ll walk the beat, know the neighborhood, and who can restore trust and safety in the neighborhoods. That’s what it is.
When you know who owns a local liquor store, know who the pastor of the church is, know — it makes a big difference when you know the community. And that’s been my approach from day one.
That’s why we designed the American Rescue Plan not only to beat the pandemic, but to rebuild our economy, but to restore public safety. And we understood the challenge from the beginning.
Communities were facing a rising tide of violence that coincided with this pandemic we went through over the last two years. And it was happening at a time when state and local budgets were under tremendous strain.
Because of the pandemic, so many people laid off, their revenue was not coming in. They were firing everyone from police officers to school teachers to first responders.
But before the American Rescue Plan, these bu- — their budgets were in deep distress in the states and localities.
One study sounded before — found that before the Rescue Plan was passed, 27 percent of the mayors in America were having to cut — make deep cuts and layoffs in law enforcement as well as other areas. So we made sure that the American Rescue Plan provided substantial resources to keep that from happening.
Through the law, we provided $350 billion — let me say that again — $350 billion directly — not to the legislatures — directly to cities, counties, and states independently of one another — money that could be used to hire back police officers, to invest in proven strategies like community violence interruption and prevention programs, and to keep their cities and counties safe, and ease the burden on law enforcement.
Because of that funding, states and cities were able to add back 460,000 jobs, including police officers, in addition to firefighters, educators, and other critically important roles.
And, by the way, not a single remember- — not a single Republican member of Congress voted for the money for law enforcement, public safety, to stabilize these — and to stabilize these budgets — not a single one — for the states, the cities, and the counties. Not one.
But I think we’re finding they’re showing up now because they’re realizing this is going to make a difference and beginning to make a difference.
Across the country, state and local leaders answered the call. And already, more than one — more than $10 billion of the American Rescue Plan funds have been committed to violence prevention and public safety across America.
In fact, in — 2021 was one of the strongest years on record when it comes to federal support delivered directly to state and local governments to address and prevent crime.
And, folks, standing here with me today, leading the way in Detroit, my buddy — and he is my buddy, because you may remember, those of you that have been reporting from the White House for a while, that Barack Obama said to me when I was Vice President, “Go fix Detroit.” (Laughs.) Not a joke. Spent — and the poor guy, he spent a lot — where were you, Mike?
MAYOR DUGGAN: I’m still here.
THE PRESIDENT: I spent a lot of time with this guy — Mayor Mike Duggan — and Police Chief James White.
Are — they’re using these ARP funds to modernize police training facilities, to invest in retention of police officers, gun violence prevention efforts, gunshot detection technology.
In Tulsa, Mayor G.T. — excuse me — Byrnum [Bynum] is using the Rescue Plan funds to help recruit police officers and training for — bonus.
Put your hand up when — so we know who we’re talking about here.
MAYOR BYNUM: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: There you are. Okay. I — in Kansas City, Mayor Q — known as “Mayor Q” — Quinton Lucas and police officer Joe — Joe Mabin are here. They used the ARP funds to avoid cuts and layoffs that would have threatened public safety in their city. And they put $12 million into their Violent Crimes Division and — while freeing up resources to begin hiring 150 new police officers.
In Baton Rouge — Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Police Chief Murphy Pearl [sic] — Paul — excuse me — is using ARP funds to purchase 200 additional patrol cars while investing $3 million to implement a proven strategy to reduce gun violence in communities, to produce prevention programs.
In Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor and Mayor — and the Police Chief, Mary O’Connor, they’re using ARP funds to modernize the city’s fire prevention capacity, including with new fire vehicles.
In Toledo, Ohio, Mayor Wade is using the ARP funds not only to avoid layoffs, but to add 100 police officers in the next few years.
In Mercer County, Pennsylvania — a county I know — largely rural, where the largest town is home of 16,000 people — the County Commissioner is here — Timothy McGonigle. Timmy was — well, I shouldn’t — I — excuse me — I was going to call you — excuse me for calling you Timmy.
COMMISIONER MCGONIGLE: No, they all call me that.
THE PRESIDENT: I’ve always called you — (laughter) —
We were talking about I grew up with Michael McGonigle — was one hell of an athlete. Anyway.
And anyway, but Tim is using that $12 million of ARP funds to install a county-wide radio system, connecting 911, police, fire, ambulance services for the first time. It’s going to make a big difference in terms of the public safety writ large.
And in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who I’ve spent some time with, and Troy Finner, the — who is the police chief, they’re using ARP funds to improve medical health services — mental health services, excuse me — domestic violence and response efforts. Because they’ve realized that when there’s a domestic violence problem, it’s not always necessary to send a cop with a gun. You have to send someone who can talk people through things.
And so — and funding a community re-entry program and police overtime pay so an additional 125 officers can be present in areas where violent crime occurs most frequently.
And across the country, more than 300 communities are engaged in the — efforts like these.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. To every governor, every mayor, every county official, the need is clear, my message is clear: Send — spend this money now that you have. Use these funds we made available to you to prioritize public safety. Do it quickly, before the summer, when crime rates typically surge. Taking action today is going to save lives tomorrow. So, use the money. Hire the police officers. Build up your emergency response systems. Invest in proven solutions.
We have a — we have an expert here with us who is one of the best — who’s best at those solutions, Reggie Moore. Reggie is heading up a new comprehensive statewide violence prevention program in the state of Wisconsin — a program that’s grounded in what’s known as community violence intervention.
Community violence intervention is about using tested messages, community leaders, community members to directly work with people who are the most likely to commit gun crimes or become victims of those gun crimes. And it works. They intervene before it’s too late, with public health and safety approaches that work.
And your governor, Governor Evers, has invested $100 million in the Rescue Plan to expand these efforts across the state of Wisconsin.
So, thanks for everything you’re doing, Reggie. I appreciate it. And more and more states and communities are going to do the same thing.
We need more of these programs. And we need states and communities to invest in things like jobs and training for young people, summer programs, drug treatment and mental health programs, housing, criminal justice reform, reentry support for people coming home from — after incarceration.
As I said in the Cabinet Room, you know, the idea that when you get let out of prison after serving your time you get 25 bucks and a bus ticket, and you’re going to end up under the same bridge you came from — from before.
But you should be entitled, if you’ve served your time, to everything from Pell Grants to food — to food stamps, the whole — the whole deal, to be able to take advantage of changing your life. And my administration is investing in those elements.
The cities, the counties, and the states should be doing the same thing with the money they have because they are demonstrated ways to reduce crime.
The bottom line is this: Across the board, we’re making sure that communities have the resources available to them that they’ve never had before so they don’t have to make tough choices between and among doing these things — reduce violence and ensure safety.
And it’s up to the cities, the towns, and the counties to spend the money and spend it now. It’s there. It’s been appropriated.
We know the challenges we’re facing as we head into this summer. We need to meet those challenges with a sense of urgency, which this group is doing.
Local leaders across the country, including the folks that are here today, are demonstrating exactly what works with innovative efforts and proven strategies.
Every single community in America should join them. And as you do, I want every governor, mayor, and county official to know: My administration will continue to have your back.
Let’s get this done and get it done now.
I want to thank you all. God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Appreciate it.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is hear every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.