Community policing has proven to reduce violence, and it’s been a domestic priority for President Biden. On Thursday, the administration announced more than $334 million in grants for community policing, bringing 2023 total investments in community-driven safety initiatives to $5.6 billion.
The funding includes money for hiring, COPS School Violence Prevention Program, and crisis intervention teams, de-escalation training, and more through the COPS Community Policing Development program.
-Nearly $217 million to 394 agencies through the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) for the hiring of 1,730 entry-level career law enforcement officers in an effort to create and preserve jobs and increase community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
-More than $73.6 million to 206 school districts, state and local governments, and other public agencies through the COPS School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) to improve security at schools and on school grounds.
-Approximately $43.6 million to support crisis intervention teams, de-escalation training, accreditation efforts, and innovative community policing strategies through the COPS Community Policing Development (CPD) program.
Crime rates have gone down
This approach is already working. The 2021-2022 murder and manslaughter decreased by 6.4% and rape decreased 8% nationwide, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said on a call with reporters in which PoliticusUSA took part. The grants will also “help school districts around the country and create a safer environment for our children” with “more than $73 million in school violence prevention grants to over 200 school districts and state and local governments to improve security at schools,” according to Monaco.
It’s important to note, due to the violence we’ve witnessed aimed at children by police in schools, that the money cannot be used for officers in schools. It can, however, be used for deterrent measures for school security.
Community policing has a long history, emerging in the 1960s and 1970s during the Civil Rights Movement, but was eventually replaced by a more militant style of policing by the 1980s. The United Nations says community policing “helps enhance the trust of the public in the police and other law enforcement agencies. Community-oriented policing not only strengthens the bond between police and the community but also enhances the public confidence and community cooperation and the effectiveness and efficiency of police and other law enforcement agencies to protect life, properties and human rights.”
Former President Obama put funding into researching more community-based policing and now President Biden put a high priority on community policing among his domestic policies.
But, Civil Rights groups have criticized Safer America Plan as a throwback to the 1994 crime bill. Keeping that in mind, the funding today is intended to increase police on the street, but it is meant to do so using “best practices” of community-based policing, which is intended to better protect people’s rights as well as protecting public safety, according to senior Administration officials. Still, there will always be people who abuse their power. Oversight of bad actors is critical but requires willing leaders.
Biden continues to push for the funding for community-based policing and violence reduction. In the learn-something-new-every-day category, White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden pointed out that not only is President Biden “laser focused on making our community safer, preventing crime strengthening public safety and building public’s trust in policing” as president, but “when he was Senator, the President was the chief architect of the bill creating the Community Community Oriented Policing Services Office better known as a cop’s office.”
Officer training and support are both vital to reducing officer violence and mental health crises. Training for de-escalation is something that is taken for granted in the military, but for some reason is too often not emphasized enough with police training. While policing remains problematic, especially for Black Americans, community policing is a better approach and the federal government is supporting both public safety and well-trained community-based policing boots on the ground.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.