The Biden Administration is encouraging state and local governments to use COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to combat violent crime.
During a meeting at the White House, President Joe Biden discussed the surge in gun violence with a group of law enforcement officials, community groups, and state and local leaders.
The White House strategy to amend the rise in crime is to hire more police officers, create community programs, help formerly incarcerated individuals re-enter their communities.
On Monday, the White House sent out a memo, “How Local and State Government Can — and Should — Use the President’s Gun Crime Reduction Strategy and Historic Rescue Plan Funding To Improve Public Safety,” instructing state and local officials to use the COVID-19 relief funds. The memo was written by Susan Rice, Gene Sperling, and Julie Rodriguez.
“The core of the President’s plan is a partnership with cities and states, equipping local leaders with historic levels of federal funding and a range of tools to address the multifaceted challenge of gun violence. In particular, the strategy uses the American Rescue Plan’s $350 billion in financial support and clear guidance to provide state, local, territorial, and tribal governments the money they need to put more police officers on the beat – including hiring above pre-pandemic levels in communities experiencing an increase in gun violence associated with the pandemic – as well as the other resources, training, and accountability they need to engage in effective community policing.”
“We know that the rise in violent crime over the last 18 months is a complex and multidimensional challenge for communities around the country, and that requires a comprehensive response,” the memo said. “And we know that cities and states need a strong partner in the federal government to get that done. That’s why we’ve been heartened to see communities moving already to use the funding in the Rescue Plan to bolster public safety.”
New York Democratic Mayoral primary winner Eric Adams was at the meeting. Adams appeared on CNN shortly after. He told CNN’s Victor Blackwell on “Newsroom” that President Biden is taking a holistic approach to dealing with violent crime. Adams says that the President is going to examine the factors that have become “a feeder to violence.”
New York’s proposed 2022 budget uses COVID-19 relief funds to pay for measures for community violence intervention and to re-deploy 200 NYPD officers to the field from administrative duties.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser, who was also at the event, is proposing that the use of funding from the relief package be used to fund 100 new Metropolitan Police Department cadets, youth safety initiatives, employment opportunities through the Department of Public Works, mental health services, and other measures.