The “Defund the Police” movement has been a hotly contested topic ever since its inception after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The slogan points to taking money out of exorbitant police budgets and military equipment and investing in more community-based social services. The Biden administration tried a variation of this with their community violence prevention program. States like Texas have passed legislation to prevent this from happening, and police budgets around the country increased in 2021.
As the debate continues President Joe Biden has made it clear where he stands on the issue. In his State of the Union address this year, he said: “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training.”
The Biden administration will propose more than $32 billion in new spending to fight crime, as reported by Axios–this includes “$20.6 billion for the next fiscal year for Department of Justice discretionary spending on federal law enforcement, crime prevention, and intervention.” This budget proposal further outlined how these spending measures would be dispersed.
- It would more than double the funding for community policing through the COPS Hiring Program. It also would add $500 million for so-called community violence interventions — a tenfold increase.
- It would pay for nearly 300 new deputy marshals and related personnel.
- It would pay for 140 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents and investigators working on gun-trafficking strike forces in five major U.S. cities; and 160 ATF investigators working on gun-dealer compliance.
- It would significantly increase funds for law enforcement agencies to trace firearms found at crime scenes.
One crucial thing is missing from the budget proposal; COVID prevention spending. Free testing and treatment measures for the insured have already ended, and without more money, the U.S. will not be able to buy more vaccines or ant-viral drugs to combat the virus.
If an increase in spending on police departments happens, there should be an equal emphasis on passing legislative deterrents for police brutality. Unfortunately, police shootings are still rising, and without something like the George Floyd Policing Act in place, the disparities will continue.