President Joe Biden said Sunday that America must not "choose between safety and equal justice" but rather fund police to ensure they are trained properly during remarks for the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service on Sunday.
Pool Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo
May 15 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden expressed a commitment to funding law enforcement during remarks for the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service on Sunday.
The annual memorial was launched through a proclamation by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to honor police officers who have died in the line of duty, a sacrifice Biden said those who chose to go into service make naturally during his remarks from Washington, D.C.
"Although I didn't personally know your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, I knew them," Biden said. "They were the first ones to run into help when everyone else ran away when we were kids, when we were young men and women. Even in grade school they'd jump in when someone was being bullied regardless of the odds."
Biden remarked that law enforcement have difficult jobs in which they are asked to perform many while facing high expectations.
He noted that funding for police is necessary to ensure they have proper training that will allow the public to have faith in their ability to protect, adding that his 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 it's not to defund the police, it's to fund the police. Fund them with the resources and the training they need to protect our communities and themselves and restore trust on the police in the people," 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 police reform legislation proposed in the police killing of George Floyd that has stalled in Congress.
"I want to acknowledge law enforcement's constructive role in trying to reach an agreement on meaningful policing legislation in Congress, we haven't gotten there yet, we must get there to strengthen public trust and public safety," he said.
At the start of the event, Biden also acknowledged the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday in which gunman Payton Gendron, 18, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting 10 people.
"A lone gunman armed with weapons of war and a hate-filled soul shot and killed 10 innocent people in cold blood at a grocery store on Saturday afternoon," he said.
He also called on Americans to "work together to address the hate that remains a stain in the soul of America."