This answers a leftover question from last week’s debate. At that time, Donald Trump challenged Joe Biden to list any law-enforcement groups that supported his presidential bid, a question which Biden dodged. In last night’s NBC News/MSNBC town hall with Lester Holt, Biden conceded that law enforcement has not supported him, but tells a “former Republican” wife and mother of police officers that they should.
Why should they? The answer comes after the end of this clip, but it’s a doozy:
MICHELLE CRUZ MARRERO, FORMER REPUBLICAN: Good evening, Mr. Vice President. As a mother of a police officer, and the wife of a retired police officer, served 28 years, the term defunding the police is of concern and troubling. I understand that police departments do need reform. We need to serve and protect safely and properly. With that being said, I would like to know what you and your administration’s policies in reforming the police, how those will come about, how — how they will be best handled to ensure police officer safety and the public citizens’ safety as well.
BIDEN: I grew up in a neighborhood where the guys I grew up with in my working-class neighborhood either became cops, firefighters, or priests. I wasn’t qualified to be any one of them. I have had overwhelming support from police my whole career, up until this year, as your husband will tell you.
As her husband would also likely tell her, that was a much different Joe Biden than the one on display in 2020. This version of Joe Biden played footsie with the “defund the police” crowd, even though Biden denies that now. In fact, he’s still playing footsie with them, as the rest of this answer demonstrates. Biden still wants police funding redirected to social workers and, um … psychologists and psychiatrists:
I’m the only one who’s talked about increasing police budgets. When your husband goes on a call that, in fact, is a 911 call, it’s better if he or she has with them a psychologist or a psychiatrist with him, someone who knows how to deal with someone who is not all there.
That would likely amuse the woman’s husband. Police officers would know that adding another civilian into a 911 response without any indication of their need increases their risk, as it adds another person they have to protect. Even in situations where counselors might be useful — and not all 911 calls fall into that category — police have to ensure the safety of everyone involved first, and adding more people to confrontations makes that more complicated.
This is also amusing, for other reasons:
So what I’m going to do, I’m going to do what I have done in the past. I’m going to bring all these interests together — peaceful protesters, police chiefs, police officers, police unions as well as the civil rights groups in the White House, and sit down and decide what are the things that need to be done to improve and help police officers? …
And so, we’ve got to make sure there’s more communication. That’s what I’m going to do as president, bring together a national commission sitting in the White House with me — with me, and working this out.
Does Biden have an overwhelming impression from protests by Black Lives Matter and Antifa rallies (and worse) that they want more engagement from law enforcement? They have made it clear that they don’t want to “improve and help police officers,” but to reduce their numbers or eliminate them altogether. They aren’t painting “ACAB” (All Cops are Bastards) and demanding police abolition as a way to “help police officers.”
On top of that, this is not a national problem, but rather a series of failures at the local level in major cities to deal with policing policy rationally and accountably. A “national commission” won’t have any impact on those failures, as the federal government has little to do with local law enforcement. The Department of Justice can manipulate the courts to get consent decrees, but Seattle already operates under a consent decree, as do a number of other cities. How has federal intervention worked out? KOAT in Albuquerque — one of the cities with a consent decree — discovered an ugly outcome in a report last year, well before this year’s spike in crime:
More than four years later, Target 7 has found that nearly all of the cities that reached settlement agreements or consent decrees with the DOJ during the same time as Albuquerque have seen double-digit increases in violent crime – crimes like murders, rapes and robberies. Cops are also leaving the departments.
“No, I am not shocked,” said Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association. “Wherever the DOJ goes, crime goes up.”
The analysis conducted by Target 7 looked at cities that reached consent decrees since 2010 and had reported their crime statistics to the FBI. Target 7 compared each city’s violent crime rate two years before the city started its consent decree and two years after.
The analysis found that every city with a population higher than 50,000 people experienced a double-digit increase in violent crime. Albuquerque had a 36 percent increase in that time. Other cities included Seattle, 27 percent; Los Angeles, 61 percent; Cleveland, 13 percent; Phoenix, 10 percent; and 20 percent in New Orleans.
Is that what Biden is promising the rest of America? If so, small wonder that law enforcement agencies are looking elsewhere in 2020.