President Joe Biden walks out from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. His crime-fighting proposal includes funding for communities to hire and train at least 100,000 police officers and adds money to clear up backlogs in local courts. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
July 21 (UPI) -- The White House announced a $37 billion crime-fighting proposal on Thursday that's intended to better train tens of thousands of police officers and invest in community efforts to increase safety.
The proposal, called the Safer America Plan, outlines a need for more federal funding to fight crime nationwide and at local levels.
President joe Biden was supposed to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to make a formal announcement, but the trip was canceled after he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier Thursday.
Biden was born in Scranton, Pa., in 1942, which is close to Wilkes-Barre.
Encouraged by last month's bipartisan bill that improves safety and adds firearm checks, Biden hopes the plan will build on momentum for safety reforms that began following a number of recent mass shooting attacks in Buffalo, N.Y., Uvalde, Texas, and Highland Park, Ill.
Biden's plan, which requires congressional approval, includes funding for communities to hire and train at least 100,000 police officers and adds money to clear up backlogs in local courts. It also provides grants for cities to reduce violent crimes.
"President Biden knows what works to make our communities safer: investing in community policing and crime prevention," the White House said in a statement Thursday. "We need to fund police who walk the beat, know the neighborhood, are accountable to those they are sworn to serve, and build community trust and safety.
"We need to invest in mental health and substance use treatment services, crisis responders, and social workers to reduce the burden on police officers and prevent violent crime. We need to expand community violence interventions."
Biden's administration said the funds in the proposal would go toward many crime-fighting measures, such as helping police solve crimes and take violent criminals off the street. Officials say the plan would further help communities set up task forces and increase the sharing of information among law enforcement agencies.
Demonstrators gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to attend a March For Our Lives rally against gun violence on June 11. President Biden's proposal Thursday is motivated by multiple recent shooting attacks in New York, Texas and Illinois. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
"The plan also aims to crack down on other serious crimes affecting families today," the White House added. "The plan will impose tougher penalties for fentanyl trafficking.
"To tackle organized retail theft, the plan calls on Congress to pass legislation to require online marketplaces, like Amazon, to verify third-party sellers' information, and to impose liability on online marketplaces for the sale of stolen goods on their platforms."
After his visit to Wilkes-Barre, Biden was supposed to travel to Philadelphia for a Democratic Party fundraiser before spending the night in Delaware. The White House said that all of Biden's travel has been canceled for at least the next five days due to his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Always a battleground state in presidential elections, Pennsylvania was especially key in electing Biden in 2020. When Pennsylvania was called for Biden four days after Election Day, it put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha fields questions from reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Friday. Photo by Rod Lamkey/UPI | License Photo