President Joe Biden boasted that he had increased funding for law enforcement while tightening gun control in a video statement for Peace Officer’s Memorial Day on May 15. Biden said he had one objective in pushing for wider gun restrictions.
“I want to make sure officers are not outgunned on the streets. Let’s be very clear; the answer is not to defund the police,” Biden said during the almost three-minute video released on the president’s Twitter thread that morning.
Biden praised law enforcement officers and first responders whom he said put their lives on the line to keep their communities safe.
“Every day, you pin on that shield and walk out the door, running toward danger to keep the rest of us safe,” Biden said. “Being an officer isn’t just what you do; it’s who you are.”
According to the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), 443 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2022.
“The past year has been one of the most dangerous years for law enforcement in recent history due to the increase of violence directed towards law enforcement officers as well as the nationwide crime crisis,” FOP National President Patrick Yoes wrote in a statement on the group’s website.
According to the FOP, 63 officers died of illnesses they contracted while responding to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Information from the FOP shows that 23,000 police officers have been killed in the line of duty since the first recorded death in 1792.
The FOP shows that 2021 was the deadliest year for law enforcement, with 623 officers killed. Of that number, 436 deaths were COVID-19 related, the FOP statement reads.
Seventy-five of the officers killed in the line of duty last year were shot. Biden said he has been working to address that particular issue.
Biden Touts Mental Health Funding
The president said his plans had dedicated $350 million to states and cities to pay for more police and first responders. The money is meant to finance mental health services, expanded background checks, and investigate so-called “ghost guns.” These firearms are built by individuals and don’t have serial numbers.
They are part of his wider 37 billion “Safer America Plan” that will help to hire 100,000 new officers and train them in community policing. This includes providing the mental health resources police often need when dealing with the public. The president said this is an essential service that government must provide.
“There is no greater responsibility of government than to keep society safe,” he said.
Biden said he understands that the families of fallen officers are grieving. But he told them that there will come a time when their memory would bring a smile again. He assured them that Americans are aware of their sacrifice.
“The nation owes its officers a debt of gratitude. May God bless them all, may God protect law enforcement,” he said.
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