Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rejected the calls from progressive Democrats and protesters across the country to abolish police departments.
“Do I think we should not have police departments in America? No, I don’t. There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments,” he told The New Yorker.
“I called for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals.”
Sanders said that many police officers around the country don’t have much education or training and that they “take the job at very low payment.”
“I want to change that,” he said.
“I also called for the transformation of police departments into — understanding that many police departments and cops deal every day with issues of mental illness, deal with issues of addictions, and all kinds of issues which should be dealt with by mental-health professionals or others, and not just by police officers.”
Sanders added that police officers should be given more support to do the jobs they’ve been asked to do.
“Anyone who thinks that we should abolish all police departments in America, I don’t agree,” he said.
Sanders ended his 2020 presidential campaign on April 8 and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.
The two are working together on six different task forces to try to bridge the gap between Sanders’ supporters and Biden’s.
On Monday, Biden said he also does not support the calls from the far left and Black Lives Matter to “defund the police.”
“No, I don’t support defunding the police,” he told CBS News this week.
“I support conditioning federal aid to police, based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.”
The movement to defund the police arose out of protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes during an arrest.
Biden’s campaign blamed President Donald Trump for some of the issues in police departments across the country and pointed to what it said are reforms Biden has been advocating for, including more funding for training, more diverse police forces and providing body cameras for police officers.
“There are many police departments across the country who are seeking to realize these kinds of changes, but haven’t had the resources to — and the Trump administration has in fact made obtaining those resources more difficult,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN.
“This is at the core of Joe Biden’s plan to bring transformative change to our criminal justice system.”
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