Biden to call on local leaders to fund safety programs

Joe Biden
FILE – President Joe Biden speaks about inflation in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, May 10, 2022. Biden is hosting leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington on Thursday, May 12. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

President Biden on Friday will call on local leaders to dedicate more funding to making communities safer after meeting with police chiefs and mayors from cities that have reduced crime.

The White House announced on Friday that $10 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan, which the president signed into law early last year, has been committed to public safety and violence prevention.

Cities and local governments have used those funds to counteract crime, prevent layoffs in police forces, grow police academies, launch innovative measures to address challenges, and create mobile crisis units with specialized mental health professionals respond to behavioral crises, according to the White House.

On Friday, Biden plans “to challenge others as they look towards the summer,” senior administration officials said.

“The president has never been shy in saying that there are a few national priorities that need to be prioritized,” officials said, adding that public safety and violence prevention is one of them.

Biden’s meeting at the White House will include mayors, chiefs of police, and community violence intervention experts from U.S. cities and after the meeting, he will deliver remarks to call on local leaders to invest more American Rescue Plan funding quickly towards community safety.

The administration will tout Houston, Texas, and Detroit, Mich., as two cities that have leveraged American Rescue Plan funding to reduce crime and increase police patrols, respectively.

Of the $10 billion, $6.5 billion went to state and local fiscal recovery fund investments, including $1 billion in bonuses for front-line public safety workers, and over $2 billion to prevent crime through community violence interventions and crisis responders.

Additionally, nearly $1 billion to reduce domestic violence with crisis interventions and safety for victims, over $350 million in job training, $450 million in public safety technology and equipment, and $600 million to clear court backlogs to support crime victims.

The remaining $3.5 billion of the $10 billion includes over $1 billion in proposed investments, $1.2 billion in Medicaid Mobile Crisis Intervention Services, and $1 billion in family violence prevention and services programs.

The $10 billion amount includes reporting from all cities up to 2021 and officials said “that is a very conservative number” because Biden is looking to expand it.

“One of the reasons why the president wants to speak now was both because we are approaching another summer and want to stress the priority of using these dollars for public safety and violence prevention, but also every single county and city receives their money in two tranches,” officials said.

Biden has reiterated his belief in investing in police departments and that he is against defunding the police, working to push back on accusations that he is in favor of defunding the police, a popular progressive movement to which conservatives have attempted to tie Biden.

Tags Biden Crime Law enforcement President Biden white house

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