President Biden on Friday called on mayors and local leaders to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to bulk up police forces and safety programs ahead of the summer months.
“It’s up to the cities, the towns, and the counties to spend the money and spend it now,” Biden said at an event with police chiefs and mayors at the White House.
The White House announced Friday that it was committing $10 billion in funding from the coronavirus relief bill signed into law by Biden early last year to public safety and violence prevention.
“It’s there, it’s been appropriated. We know the challenges we’re facing as we head into this summer. We need to meet those challenges with a sense of urgency, which this group is doing,” Biden said.
“Use these funds we made available to you to prioritize public safety. Do it quickly before this summer when crime rates typically surge. Taking action today is going to save lives tomorrow. So use the money, hire the police officers, build up your emergency response systems, invest in proven solutions,” Biden said.
Biden hailed the relief package as enabling states and cities to add back 460,000 jobs, including for police officers. He also criticized Republicans for not voting for the legislation.
“But I think we’re finding they’re showing up now because they’re realizing this is going to make a difference and beginning to make a difference,” he said.
Biden said Toledo, Ohio, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz was using funds to add 100 police officers in the next few years and avoid layoffs, while Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is using funds to improve mental health services and domestic violence response efforts. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is using funds to modernize police training facilities and increase retention.
Of the $10 billion from the package, $6.5 billion went to state and local fiscal recovery fund investments, including $1 billion in bonuses for front-line public safety workers, and over $2 billion to prevent crime through community violence interventions and crisis responders.
Nearly $1 billion is targeted to reduce domestic violence with crisis interventions and safety for victims.
The remaining $3.5 billion of the $10 billion includes over $1 billion in proposed investments, $1.2 billion in Medicaid Mobile Crisis Intervention Services and $1 billion in family violence prevention and services programs.