Biden still wants to increase funding for police departments by $300 million to 'reinvigorate community policing'

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Biden still wants to increase funding for police departments by $300 million to 'reinvigorate community policing'
Then-Vice President Joe Biden meets with Alexandria, Va., police officer Peter Laboy for coffee in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s Ceremonial Office on the White House complex in Washington, Thursday, May 15, 2014.AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden is still pledging an additional $300 million in funding for police departments across the country.
  • The Biden campaign has tried to thread the needle amid nationwide protests, saying the former VP "supports the urgent need for reform" but believes more funding, not less, is needed to enact it.
  • "I've long been a firm believer in the power of community policing—getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect," Biden wrote in a USA Today op-ed.
  • "That's why I'm proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country."
  • "Every single police department should have the money they need to institute real reforms like adopting a national use of force standard, buying body cameras, and recruiting more diverse police officers."

Former Vice President Joe Biden's answer for calls to "defund the police" is to double down on more money for reforms.

In a USA Today op-ed Wednesday, Biden reiterated his plan for getting $300 million to departments willing to shake up their practices.

"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. "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."

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Biden emphasized that shifting the focus of policing should be the priority.

"I've long been a firm believer in the power of community policing—getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect. That's why I'm proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country.

"Every single police department should have the money they need to institute real reforms like adopting a national use of force standard, buying body cameras, and recruiting more diverse police officers."

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Part of that shift, Biden wrote, would be reducing the scope of what police respond to.

"And, we need to prevent 911 calls in scenarios where police should not be our first responders. That means making serious investments in mental health services, drug treatment and prevention programs, and services for people experiencing homelessness.

"That may also mean having social service providers respond to calls with police officers," Biden added.

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Biden recently met with George Floyd's family and delivered a video address for his funeral.

Since protests erupted across the country over Floyd's death, Biden has reiterated his call to heal "the soul of the nation," a line he repeated in the 0p-ed.

"Nothing about this fight will be easy. Institutions resist change. Racism has been a fixture in our society for hundreds of years," Biden wrote.

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"I'm ready to do that work, starting on day one. Nothing less is acceptable from an American president."

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