President Biden’s request for federal appropriations would spread $30 billion over a decade to “support law enforcement, crime prevention, community violence intervention, and justice system reform,” the Justice Department said, reports the Wall Street Journal. “The answer is not to defund our police departments. It’s to fund our police and give them all the tools they need,” Biden said Monday. “The budget puts more police on the street for community policing so they get to know the community they are policing.” The Justice Department budget request seeks 131 new prosecutors to help with the sprawling investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Trump assisting in the more than 750 cases that have resulted so far. The new proposed violent-crime funding includes doubling resources for a program to combat gun violence to $40 million; creating a new $250 million grant program to help communities develop strategies to calm tensions before they turn violent; adding more than 100 agents to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and more than 100 new federal prosecutors to help prosecute violent crime.
“I have met with countless police chiefs, sheriffs, mayors, you name it. Every single one of them says we need more help,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a briefing with reporters. Local officials specifically ask for ATF’s assistance to trace guns used in crimes and help from the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate opioid deaths. DOJ officials said the budget also included a proposed new program that would include a $4.4 billion fund to examine new strategies to address violent crime. Republicans have highlighted rising crime statistics in their efforts to cast Democrats, who lead major U.S. cities, as soft on crime ahead of November’s midterms. Among other things, they have criticized “defund the police” proposals by progressive activists and politicians that would reallocate police funding to social programs. Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police said the budget was a good sign that the administration was taking the rise in crime seriously.