Delaware Senator Joseph Biden is trying to revive the Clinton-era community police hiring program that has been gutted by the Bush administration and Congress. Biden, a 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, yesterday introduced a wide-ranging anticrime bill that features a $600 million authorization that could lead to hiring 50,000 police officers “to combat terrorism, school violence, and engage in community policing.” Biden would also provide police $350 million annually for anticrime technology and $200 million for community prosecutors.
Biden would add 1,000 FBI agents, to make up for what he says is a Bush administration call to transfer 650 from crime-fighting to terrorism prevention. The senator also would provide funds for 500 more federal drug agents and $1 billion for substance abuse treatment programs, academic and vocational education programs, housing and job counseling programs, and mentoring for former prisoners. Biden said the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Association of Police Organizations are among groups supporting his bill. Although he chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee crime subcommittee, Congressional Quarterly reported that the panel had not met since May as Biden has spent most of his time on his presidential campaign and chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.