Washington — Surrounded by police chiefs across the United States, President Biden praised on Friday that state and local governments promised to spend at least $ 10 billion on federal stimulus to strengthen police stations.
And he urged local leaders to keep the money flowing.
“My message is clear. Please spend this money,” Biden said at the Rose Garden. “Do it right away, before the summer when crime rates usually skyrocket.”
Biden shows that he is a strong police advocate prior to the November midterm elections, as Republicans are capturing increasing violent crimes to portray the White House as vulnerable to law and order. I’m pushing for.
But the timing of his remarks, just two weeks before the second anniversary of George Floyd’s killing by police officers, still keeps his early promise to reform the police station accused of racism by Mr. Biden. He is also a frustrated progressive who says no.
Hannah Halbert, Executive Director of Policy Matters Ohio, a non-profit organization, said:
Instead, she said the authorities seemed to rely on traditional investments in police. She points out that Ohio officials used stimulus funds to buy police cars, “you’re going to double the strategy that produced the results we’re currently living in,” Halbert said. Said.
A few months after the $ 1.9 trillion pandemic bailout was passed last June, Mr. Biden said state and local governments would devote themselves to a $ 350 billion relief fund to use the money for public safety. Announced that it will be allowed. The White House said on Friday that spending $ 10 billion was just initial accounting. Government officials expect more money to be sent to police as additional stimulus funds are paid.
The White House hopes this spending will help prevent a surge in crime this summer. However, some critics have said that money should be spent on dealing with public health as well as the financial distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are encouraging local governments to invest in health care, education, employment and housing,” said Kanya Bennett, managing director of government issues at the Legislative Union’s Citizens and Human Rights Leadership Council. Said.
Parliamentary talks to overhaul the police station Failed last year After almost a year of negotiations. The Justice Department has announced a federal investigation into the Minneapolis and Louisville police stations, but advocates of criminal justice have asked Mr. Biden to use his enforcement powers more to control the police. White House spokesman Jen Psaki said Friday that the government is in the process of finalizing a presidential directive on police reform.
Despite being asked to cut down on law enforcement funding and spend more on health care and education following widespread protests in 2020, Biden is the best at fighting crime and bringing about reforms. He said the method was to invest in the police.
On Friday, Mr. Biden also praised the states that used the funds to invest in community-based safety programs such as the Wisconsin Initiative, which deployed community members to work directly with those most likely to commit gun crime. Did.
“The best way to get the reform done as soon as possible is to go home and make sure you invest in the police station,” Biden said.
Spending $ 10 billion included funding for hiring additional officers, spikes in overtime, purchasing police car and gun detection technology, and improving wireless systems and training facilities.
Detroit Police Department Chief James E. White spoke at the White House on Friday, saying the funds could be used to expand programs that combine police officers and social workers to better help people with mental illness. Asked for an example of how federal funding helped his department, White said additional money allowed him to hire someone to improve the diversity of his agency. rice field.
The $ 10 billion figure does not include some state spending plans that are inconsistent with Mr. Biden’s public security priorities. A condition of anonymity for discussing personal deliberations.
The stimulus was aimed at providing flexibility to the state, but Mr Biden spoke on Friday about putting his “thumbs up” and funding police with the intention of prioritizing spending on public security. Said.
At a private meeting in the loose belt room with police chiefs and community leaders, Biden wants to continue investing in law enforcement, but police on dealing with domestic violence and mentally ill emergencies. Said that he should not be held solely responsible.
Some cities have spent money on public security initiatives that do not involve police. Mayor Regina Romero of Tucson, Arizona, has announced plans to spend at least $ 7 million on intervention programs, youth employment and programming, labor development, mental health and substance abuse programs.
Liana Perez, Deputy Mayor of Tucson, said the mayor and city council have developed a strategic framework for financing.
“So it’s not necessarily our police station, but it’s a community self-health and safety initiative,” she said.
Perez said the city did not follow the path of losing money to the police station, but tried to add programs and services to help the police. For example, Tucson created a community health, safety, and wellness program in the hope that social welfare services, rather than police, would divert 911 calls.
“We knew that law enforcement challenges needed to be addressed from multiple directions,” Perez said. “It’s not just the funding for the new executives you know.”