Updated: Sep 6
On July 21, 2022, the White House released a statement explaining a new plan our great president has thought up. Just from the headlines, you might have heard of this new plan.
It includes increasing the public safety budget by 35+ billion dollars.
Biden was planning to announce it in its entirety to Congress on July 21, but he (un)fortunately tested positive for COVID-19. He was forced to postpone his announcement and the statement was released.
This statement begins with an introduction praising Biden’s previous actions concerning public safety and previous funding of the Police. This introduction states “We need to fund police who walk the beat, know the neighborhood, are accountable to those they are sworn to serve, and build community trust and safety,” as if the police aren’t already funded enough. In fact, later in this same release, it brings attention to past funding by Biden. It also explains how “we need to enforce our commonsense gun laws, require background checks for all gun sales … and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – weapons of war that have no place in our communities.”
This statement about keeping weapons of war out of our community, as we will see later, does not include the police and their rapid militarization.
It ignores the fact that American police use the same weaponry most militaries use in war, against their own citizens.
The statement then moves on to explain, in specifics, what Biden has done in the past 18 months emphasizing “ARP investments made 2021 among the largest single-year commitments of federal resources for state and local law enforcement and public safety on record,” something nobody should be proud of and then cites an executive order Biden put out on May 25, 2022, as being historic in advancing effective, accountable policing. Although, when read into, it just delegates all duties of limiting racial profiling to the city governments and government agencies. With it staying internal, there is still no outside influence on the police, which is why the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, supported the executive order.
Another action emphasized, is Biden’s “strategy” for reducing gun violence. Something they try to slip in is “The Biden Administration has taken more executive action to reduce gun violence than any other president at this point in their administration.” Why would this be included? Besides misleading readers into believing Biden has done more than any other president to reduce gun violence. Digging even further, his strategy, summarized in another statement put out on June 23, consists of increasing funding to the ATF and allowing the ATF to have more control over dealer licensing.
His strategy, quite literally, comes down to extra funding and control of law enforcement agencies.
The final action emphasized during Biden’s tenure is his choice to “invest in community-led crime prevention and intervention.” This is, surprisingly, the most progressive part of the document. Although it doesn’t amount to much actual change, it does address the effects of inter-generational trauma, and the consequences of gun violence. Besides this, it doesn’t do much. It is overly reliant on a racist Department of Justice, with most of the 26 federal programs falling under the DOJ umbrella. Its failure is obvious when compared to the massive sum of funding the new plan is dedicating to a new crackdown.
Finally, after praising Supreme Leader Joe Biden, the document announces and “explains” his “Safer America Plan.” According to the document, the plan funds the police and promotes effective prosecution of crimes affecting families today, invests in crime prevention and a fairer criminal justice system, and takes additional commonsense steps on guns to keep dangerous firearms out of dangerous hands. Maybe it is just me, but this doesn’t do much to provide information on what this Safer America Plan looks like.
In its first section, explains:
It will provide communities the resources they need to keep our streets safe by hiring and training 100,000 police officers ($13 billion) and investing to help clear court backlogs and solve murders to get more criminals off the street ($3 billion). It also explains the government will crack down on serious crimes like fentanyl trafficking and retail theft. How these two got considered equally dangerous and pressing, I don’t know, but it seems like another Reagan-era “crackdown” on crime signaling and an increase in the mass incarceration of BIPOC and marginalized groups.
In its second section, the document explains:
The government will invest in crisis responders and social workers, but it doesn’t actually specify how much will go to such groups. Instead, it quickly moves on to establish a grant program ($15 billion) which cities and states will use to establish programs that will determine whether to send police or public health responders. Of course, the actual public-health responders aren’t given any specified amount of money.
In its third section, the plan explains how:
It will take “commonsense steps” on gun control by simply increasing funding to the ATF so they can hire new agents and investigators while also allowing the ATF more control over gun-related issues.
The people’s calls for justice were ignored and the police are becoming stronger than they ever were before. Hopefully, this funding will be enough to awaken people to the dangers of neo-liberalism and the dangers of relying too much on electoral politics for radical change. The people’s response needs to be crystal clear. We do not support funding of the police and we know the funding is a direct response to increased calls for the abolition of the Supreme Court. Get out on the streets and stay safe.
Megerian, Chris, and Will Weissert. “Positive COVID Test Upends Biden’s Police Plan Announcement.” AP News, Associated Press, 21 July 2022, https://apnews.com/article/biden-police-pennsylvania-wilkes-barre-c3d8e3ee5190adde35b1b7932a47dc4b.
“Statements and Releases.” The White House, The United States Government, 21 July 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/.
“Fact Sheet: President Biden Issues Call for State and Local Leaders to Dedicate More American Rescue Plan Funding to Make Our Communities Safer – and Deploy These Dollars Quickly.” The White House, The United States Government, 16 May 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/13/fact-sheet-president-biden-issues-call-for-state-and-local-leaders-to-dedicate-more-american-rescue-plan-funding-to-make-our-communities-safer-and-deploy-these-dollars-quickly/.
“Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing, and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety.” The White House, The United States Government, 25 May 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/05/25/executive-order-on-advancing-effective-accountable-policing-and-criminal-justice-practices-to-enhance-public-trust-and-public-safety/.
“Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime and Ensure Public Safety.” The White House, The United States Government, 23 June 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/23/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-comprehensive-strategy-to-prevent-and-respond-to-gun-crime-and-ensure-public-safety/.