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More Cops won’t keep us safe: Biden announces even more funding for cops, despite national movement calling for defunding the police

September 1, 2022

On Tuesday, while speaking in Pennsylvania, President Joe Biden laid out his Safer America Plan, which includes $37 Billion in funding for policing and a commitment to add an additional 100,000 more cops across the nation.

Biden’s comments were similar to what he said during the 2022 State of the Union address, when he said:

You know, I call it the Safer America Plan, and both your members of Congress voted for it.  It’s based on a simple notion: When it comes to public safety in this nation, the answer is not “defund the police,” it’s “fund the police.”

Such statements from Biden should not come as a surprise, as he campaigned in 2020 with the intention of increasing funding for cops. In addition, we need to remember that when Biden was the Vice President and a Senator he has always supported policing, and the Senator was instrumental in passing the 1994 Crime Bill, which not only increased police funding, it led to what Michelle Alexander calls Mass Incarceration.

Over the past few weeks, we have written that the Democratic Party is equally committed to supporting and defending policing in this country, despite the calls from millions to defund the police. Biden’s speech on Tuesday affirmed his administration’s commitment to expanding the police, even though there is plenty of evidence that more cops does not translate into safer communities, nor less crime.

Take for instance the 2021 report from Interrupting Criminalization, Cop’s Don’t Stop Violence: Combating Narratives Used to Defend Police Instead of Defunding Them. The report states in its introduction: 

Police are facing one of the greatest crises of legitimacy in a generation. In the wake of the largest uprisings in U.S. history, sparked by police violence, bloated police budgets, and the deadly impacts of a failure to invest in community health and safety laid bare by the pandemic, pro-police forces are on the defensive. So they are reaching for one of their most reliable weapons — fear. 

This is nothing new — cops and policymakers have always used fearmongering to push “law and order” agendas and pour more and more money into police departments. Now, with police budgets under scrutiny by campaigns to defund the police and refund our communities all across the country, lawmakers and the media are once again recycling old talking points about increasing violence and crime, claiming that campaigns to defund police are responsible. 

The Cops Don’t Stop Violence report is well researched and full of data, that is presented in a very readable fashion. The report concludes with the following statement: 

It’s time to recognize that decades of pouring more money, resources, and legitimacy into policing in an effort to increase safety have failed — because policing is functioning as it is intended to: to contain, control, and criminalize Black and Brown communities rather than to prevent and reduce violence. It’s time to invest in meeting community needs and building non-police community safety strategies. It’s time to invest in just recovery. 

While Biden’s commitment to providing more funding for cops and increasing the sheer number of police across the county is somewhat disheartening, it is expected that those committed to protecting power and privilege would continue to maintain a system of repression and State violence, policing. What has been happening in Grand Rapids over the past several years, is no different.

We know we have our work cut out for us, just as all abolitionists have experienced of the centuries. We need to continue to resist and to radically imagine a world that is not subservient to capital, and a system that is rooted in White Supremacy. We need to continue to educate ourselves and use resources that can be used as tools of popular education. For example, I encourage people to read and share this fabulous zine, Police Abolition 101, which you can download here. The more we can share these tools, self-educate, resist State violence, and create real conditions for community safety, then we can work to defund and abolish the GRPD. 

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