WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden met with mayors and police chiefs at the White House, as he announced a $10 billion effort to bump up public safety.
The $10 billion comes from the American Rescue Plan, and the president wants Americans to feel safe no matter where they live.
“Spend this money now that you have,” Biden said.
Biden is calling on states throughout the country to use the money from the American Rescue Plan to strengthen police departments and improve public safety.
“Taking action today is going to save lives tomorrow. So use the money, hire the police officers, build up your emergency response systems,” the president said.
Police chiefs, mayors and other local leaders were invited to discuss how they used the first round of funds.
“For the president to be proactive and provide that funding immediate for law enforcement, especially in some trying times, it’s really really helped us,” Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul Jr. said.
Paul says the funding helped his department improve technology and community relations.
“Those were funds that we typically would not have had,” Paul said.
Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas says his city hired 150 new police officers and equipped the force with new radios.
“This is allowing us to invest in lifesaving technology in a way we would not have been able to if not for the support of the American Rescue Plan,” Lucas said.
But besides the funding, Lucas is also calling on the federal government to help find ways to stop guns he says are coming across state lines every day.
“What’s important for us long-term is to make sure we’re working together and collaborating,” Lucas said.
The president is encouraging communities to spend more money on public safety and crime prevention before the summer to combat the rise in crime that comes with the warmer season.