Biden highlights community policing amid calls to defund departments

Biden highlights community policing amid calls to defund departments
© Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday highlighted his proposal for an additional $300 million in community policing funds, after earlier making clear that he does not agree with some liberal activists’ calls to defund police departments.

“While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments that are violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police,” Biden wrote in an op-ed for USA Today as lawmakers of both parties work on legislative responses to nationwide protests against police brutality. “The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”

In the op-ed, the presumptive Democratic nominee calls for the money to be used to implement "real reforms" such as more body cameras, a more diverse recruitment pool and developing a national use-of-force standard.

ADVERTISEMENT

Biden also calls for investments in services such as mental health and drug treatment as well as homeless services to “prevent 911 calls in scenarios where police should not be our first responders.”

“Nothing about this fight will be easy. Institutions resist change. Racism has been a fixture in our society for hundreds of years. It will take leadership at the highest levels of our government — and sustained grassroots pressure from communities who will no longer stand by silently when injustices are inflicted on people of color,” he wrote.

“And, vitally, it will require all of us to examine our own conduct, our deeply ingrained habits, and our own thinking,” he added.

The former vice president's call for increased community police funding is also laid out on his campaign website.

President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE has in recent weeks increasingly sought to tie Biden to liberal calls to defund police departments in favor of more social programs, one of several proposals that has gained momentum amid nationwide protests against police brutality and racial inequality following the death of George Floyd.

Biden’s campaign emphasized his opposition to the idea Monday.

“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE does not believe that police should be defunded," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told reporters.