- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2021

President Biden’s crime prevention strategy will include an emphasis on community policing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Ms. Psaki said community policing will be a “key part” of the strategy, which will be unveiled Wednesday.

He‘s always supported community policing programs,” Ms. Psaki said of the president. “He‘s supported giving funding to states and localities around the country including through his American Rescue Plan because he believes there is an essential role to play for community policing.”

On the campaign trail last year, Mr. Biden touted community policing as critical to overhauling law enforcement in America. He also wrote an op-ed for USA Today calling for increased community policing.

Community policing is a strategy that focuses on relationships between officers and members of the communities they serve. The thinking is that better relationships will build trust between law enforcement and residents, reducing police brutality and increasing public safety.

It was a hallmark of the Obama administration’s police reform package after the high-profile death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black man, in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

Since taking office, Mr. Biden has bolstered a Justice Department office that sat relatively dormant under the Trump administration. The president allocated $300 million to the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Service to put officers trained in community policing on the streets.

The administration’s crime prevention strategy comes as the nation’s murder rate reaches its highest levels since the early 1990s.

A sample of 37 cities with data for the first three months of 2021 saw an 18% increase in murders compared to the same period in 2020, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

In New York City, shooting incidents jumped more than 77% between March 2020 and March 2021, and more than 50 people were shot in Chicago this past weekend.

Ms. Psaki already signaled that tackling gun violence will be another tentpole of the administration’s crime prevention strategy.

“There are major cities across the country where gun violence is absolutely the driver, where it is absolutely increasing and that will be a central part of what he‘ll talk about,” she said Tuesday.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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