Sen. Josh Hawley has a not-so-novel way to get soaring crime rates down: Re-fund the police.
In a news release Wednesday ahead of President Joe Biden’s speech on crime — in which the president leaned into a gun crackdown as the panacea for lawbreaking — the Missouri Republican instead “rolled out his own legislative agenda to hire 100,000 new police officers, boost police morale, and keep American families safe.”
“As violent crime continues to plague the country, communities and law enforcement officers are under siege,” the news release stated.
“Homicides are dramatically increasing across American cities, and violent crime is hitting generational highs. Meanwhile, police departments are facing million-dollar budget cuts, violence against police officers is increasing nationwide, and low morale among officers is causing departments to struggle with recruiting new applicants.”
Hawley says he’ll put 100,000 new officers on the streets via legislation that provides grants to communities to hire new law enforcement personnel.
“American families aren’t safe, but they deserve to be. And they can be if we will act,” Hawley said in the release.
“This is not the time to defund the police or vilify them, but to support the brave men and women in blue — and put more of them on the streets. Immediately.”
In addition to putting those officers on the streets, Hawley’s agenda includes measures aimed at keeping them safer.
Hawley said he plans to introduce legislation that would increase maximum sentences for assaults on federal officers by 50 percent and double the penalty for illegally releasing private information about federal law enforcement officials.
The news release also states Hawley will introduce “a bill that directs [the Department of Justice], together with [the Department of Homeland Security], to develop programs to protect the privacy and personal information of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials.”
Hawley would extend the provisions of a previous bill he authored, the Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act of 2019, to increase funding for mental health and family services for federal officers.
Targeting individuals based on their status as a law enforcement officer would be a separate criminal offense if Hawley’s agenda gets passed, and the penalties for ambushing police would be increased.
Hawley also says he’ll propose “a bill to increase penalties for damage to federal courthouses and unauthorized access to areas where federal judges work, reside, or visit.”
According to CNN, murder rates in America’s largest cities increased 33 percent last year, with spikes seen in 63 out of 66 of the biggest jurisdictions. That crime wave has carried over into 2021.
All of that is a far cry from what Biden is talking about.
In his speech on Wednesday, Biden put the White House’s eggs in the gun crackdown basket to end what he called an “epidemic” of violent crime.
“Today the [Justice] Department is announcing a major crackdown to stem the flow of guns used to commit violent crimes,” Biden said, according to CBS News.
“It’s zero tolerance for gun dealers who willfully violate key existing laws and regulations. And I repeat, zero tolerance. If you willfully sell a gun to someone who is prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully fail to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record, if you willfully fail to cooperate with inspections, my message to you is this: We will find you.”
I’m assuming this doesn’t apply to gun buyers like Hunter Biden, who, if his own words about his drug use are to be believed (and this is one area I don’t doubt the man), likely lied on a federal background check form that asked if he was a substance abuser or addict.
In an appearance on Fox News Wednesday afternoon, Hawley countered that “we need more cops.”
The interview is below:
“We shouldn’t be defunding the police. We shouldn’t be targeting the police. We should be supporting them,” Hawley told host Dana Perino.
“The basic problem here is that we have too many criminals and not enough cops,” he continued, noting police departments “are having a major retention problem.”
“Cops are leaving. I’ve talked to cops all across my state and across the country — and what they say is, ‘We don’t feel supported. We don’t feel there’s backing out there. We’ve got a tough job to do and we need the help to do it.'”
Another problem Hawley identified was 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“It’s because of the ‘defund the police’ movement, something Joe Biden has at least implicitly endorsed,” Hawley said near the beginning of the interview. “We talked about the police under fire, they are under assault, Dana, What we need right now is we need more cops on the street.”
Messages like that are guaranteed to infuriate the left, but the rest of the voting spectrum feels a bit differently. As The Associated Press reported in a June 11 article, crime and public safety were the top issues for Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos polling for New York City’s primary election.
And that’s in a city that’s no haven of secret conservatism — the city where far-left Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio won election and reelection.
If those are the numbers in Gotham, the Democrats are going to be in trouble come the midterms.
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