Speaking with a reporter after a speech in Pittsburgh Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he does not want to defund law enforcement. He said if elected he would boost the budget of the DOJ's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
“I not only don’t want to defund the police, I want to add $300 million to their local budgets to deal with community policing to get police and communities back together again,” he told KDKA.
"The only person defunding the police is the president," he continued. "Look at his budget. He calls for a half a billion dollar cut in local law enforcement. This president, they just flat lie," Biden said.
Fox News reports Biden said he supported conditional funding for police departments in a July video interview with NowThis conducted by progressive activist Ady Barkan.
"If they don't eliminate chokeholds, they don't get Byrne grants; if they don't do the following, they don't get any help," he said. "If they don't do, because you know as well as I do, the vast majority of all police departments are funded by the locality, funded by the municipality, funded by the state. It's only the federal government comes in on top of that, and so it says you want help, you have to do the following reforms, you have to make sure you have no-knock warrants eliminated, if you have them, you don't get Byrne grants."
The official Democratic Party platform says: " Democrats believe we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom. Police brutality is a stain on the soul of our nation. It is unacceptable that millions of people in our country have good reason to fear they may lose their lives in a routine traffic stop, or while standing on a street corner, or while playing with a toy in a public park. It is unacceptable that Black parents must have “the talk” with their children, to try to protect them from the very police officers who are supposed to be sworn to protect and serve them. It is unacceptable that more than 1,000 people, a quarter of them Black, have been killed by police every year since 2015. Democrats also recognize that all too often, systematic cuts to public services have left police officers on the front lines of responding to social challenges for which they have not been trained, from homelessness to mental health crises to the opioid epidemic. We can and must do better for our communities."