President Joe Biden’s Justice Department plans on providing $156.5 million in grants to hire police officers as part of a $320 million package, despite the fact many members of his own party have called to defund the police.
The recruitment grant will go to the COPS Hiring Program, described by the DOJ as “a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct funding for the hiring of career law enforcement officers.”
Law enforcement agencies across the United States are encouraged to apply.
The Biden administration expects the funding to help with the “implementation of projects that focus on prioritized crime issues impacting communities [and the] implementation of changes to personnel and agency management in support of community policing,” among other things.
The remainder of the funding will go toward school safety programs and combating illegal drug distribution.
“With these funds, the Department is supporting law enforcement agencies, as well as the residents they serve, by increasing their capacity to disrupt illegal drug trafficking, hire officers committed to using best practices to serve their communities, and keep children safe in school,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
At least 20 Democratic congressional members have called for law enforcement to be abolished or defunded to at least some extent.
Many of the cries to “defund the police” came in 2020 amid Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd.