Citing the words of the Rev.
In a possible preview of recommendations coming from the president’s so-called Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Biden recalled a major component of the 1994 crime bill he wrote was an infusion of billions in federal dollars to help hire 100,000 new police officers through what was known as the COPS program. Funding for that program has dropped by 87% since 1998.
"That means fewer cops in the streets, in the neighborhoods, building recognition, trust -- seeing one another," Biden said at a
Biden used the holiday speech to discuss the polarizing political issue, presenting himself as a bridge between the two camps by playing up his reputation as a law-and-order politician and his personal connection to the local black community without which, he said, he "wouldn’t have this job."
Weeks after he attended a funeral service for one of two New York police officers who were murdered in the line of duty, he noted that both were minorities – and that in fact the city police department is now a majority-minority force.
"They had a humanity that was denied them by an assassin’s bullet, who judged them by the color of the uniform they wore, as Dr. King would say, not by the content of their character," Biden said.
President Obama formed the policing task force in December in the wake of violent confrontations between law enforcement and individuals protesting the death of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. Its recommendations were to be delivered in 90 days.
In addition to beefing up community policing programs, Biden said the commission was looking at ways to increase diversity in police forces, increase the use of technology like body cameras, and new training methods that would educate officers "how to respond to dangerous situations without inflaming them."
In his speech Biden made no mention of a law enforcement matter closer, literally, to his home – an incident Saturday night when an individual fired shots at his Delaware residence while driving past on a public street. New Castle County police and the Secret Service are investigating.