James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:18 P.M. EDT
MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Okay. It would not be a briefing without some special guests. So I have some with me today.
Today, President Biden is welcoming mayors, chiefs of police, a county commissioner, and a community violence intervention expert to the White House to talk about how the Rescue Plan is providing historic levels of support to make our communities safer.
The President will encourage even more communities to use Rescue Plan funding to invite more — to invest more in fighting violent crime and to deploy American Rescue Plan funding to make our communities safer as quickly as possible as we head into summer.
As we announced earlier today, over $10 billion has been spent or committed already on public safety through the Rescue Plan, including by over 300 communities and more than half of the states.
The money is being put to use keeping cops on the beat for community policing, investing in mental health and substance use disor- — substance use disorder services, crisis responders, community violence intervention, and other programs to address the causes of crime and ease the burden on police.
These are stories from across the country about how this money is already making a difference, and we wanted you to hear about it directly from the leaders on the frontlines.
First is Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, who has leveraged Rescue Plan money to avoid public safety layoffs and has used it to invest $10 million for new police technology.
Because of the fiscal space provided by the Rescue Plan, Kansas City is also working to hire 150 new police officers. Mayor Lucas was elected in 2018 and previously served on the city council.
Next is Police Chief James White of the Detroit Police Department. Together with Mayor Duggan, Chief White has used over $110 million from the Rescue Plan to invest in body cameras, new gunshot detection technology, and $30 million for enhanced police patrols, among other strategies.
Chief White is a veteran of over two decades at the Detroit Police Department. And since he was sworn in last year and with the help of the Rescue Plan, Detroit has recorded an 18 percent decrease in homicides compared to the previous year. They’ll each speak briefly, will take some questions. They’ll have to go to meet with the President, which is a good reason.
So I will turn that over to — turn it over to Mayor Lucas. Thank you so much.
MAYOR LUCAS: Thank you so much. And it’s an honor to be with you all today.
I’m here to discuss public safety, not just in Kansas City, but in many of America’s cities. If we think back just a few years, we had a challenge of tight budgets and rising crime. The American Rescue Plan has filled an important and vital gap for us in Kansas City. If not for the American Rescue Plan, officers would have lost their jobs, salaries would have been frozen, and our city would have become more dangerous.
Instead, we have been able to invest in a number of vital and important areas. First of all, we’ve heard much discussion in recent years about community policing. There is no community policing without the police. The American Rescue Plan funds have allowed us to invest in more police officers — and not only more police officers, but salary increases so that we can make sure that we are recruiting and, importantly, retaining good officers in Kansas City.
In addition to that, communications technology in Kansas City of $10 million from the American Rescue Plan allows us to invest in so many deferred technology areas so we can continue to be smart about how we solve crime, keep our officers safe as they’re looking to solve crime, and, importantly, make sure that we’re spending those additional funds in areas like recruiting in areas like intervention.
As a mayor, I’ve had the chance not just to have experiences with my own police department, but I’ve done ride-alongs in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington, and a number of other American cities. In each of those, you’re hearing from people and mayors and leaders that are saying that this support has been key in terms of making our city safer and making sure that everyone in our community has police officers, but has police officers who have the time and have the opportunity to get involved in our neighborhoods each and every day.
So I thank the President for giving us this opportunity with the American […]
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room