In a televised town hall meeting in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden announced that instead of defunding the police he would put more money into local policing and outlined the improvements he hopes to make to criminal justice and policing in the country, reports Aljazeera.
Calls to defund or abolish the police rose out of the protests and unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
Black Lives Matters activists say the demand is not about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money, but, instead, is a call for the country to address systemic problems in policing and spend more on what communities need, such as housing and education.
In response, some Democrats pushed for reviews of local police budgets after Floyd’s death, calling for the diversion of funding to social and mental health services.
While campaigning, Biden promised to invest $300m in a programme giving grants to hire more diverse officers and train them to develop less adversarial relationships with communities. He also supported redirecting some police funding to address mental health or to change the prison system and on Tuesday reiterated his desire to end jail sentences for drug use alone.
“We have to put more money for this to work so we have legitimate community policing, and we are in a situation where we can change the legislation,” Biden said.