May 15 (UPI) — President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to funding law enforcement during his remarks for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Sunday.
The annual memorial was started by a proclamation from President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to honor police officers who have died in the line of duty, a sacrifice Biden said those who choose to enter the service naturally make during his remarks from Washington, D.C.
“Although I didn’t personally know your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, I did know them,” Biden said. “They were the first to ask for help when everyone ran away when we were children, when we were young men and women. Even in primary school, they intervened when someone was the victim of bullying, regardless of the odds.”
Biden noted that law enforcement has tough jobs in which they are asked to perform many tasks while facing high expectations.
He noted that funding for the police is necessary to ensure they have adequate training that will build public confidence in their ability to protect, adding that their budget includes $573 million for community policing.
“The answer is not to abandon the streets, it’s not to choose between safety and equal justice, and we should agree that it’s not to defund the police, it’s to defund the police. Fund them with the resources and training they need to protect our communities and themselves and restore trust in the police in the population,” he said.
Biden touted the resources provided to law enforcement following the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, while calling on lawmakers to pass proposed police reform legislation in the police killing of George Floyd who has stalled in Congress.
“I want to acknowledge the constructive role of law enforcement in trying to get agreement on meaningful policing legislation in Congress, we haven’t gotten there yet, we need to get there to build trust and security. of the public,” he said.
At the start of the event, Biden also acknowledged the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, on Saturday in which 18-year-old shooter Payton Gendron was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for killing 10 people.
“A lone gunman armed with the weapons of war and a soul filled with hate shot dead 10 innocent people in cold blood in a grocery store on Saturday afternoon,” he said.
He also called on Americans to “work together to fight the hate that remains a stain on America’s soul.”