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Refund the police? President Biden on Wednesday said communities can spend COVID-19 relief money on hiring more police to address soaring rates of violent crime. Biden said in a White House speech that “the American Rescue Plan, which we passed in the first 100 days my administration, is providing much needed and historic relief to bring back those law enforcement jobs and social service jobs.” The feds began distributing $350 billion in state and local aid last month and Biden pushed the option of using the cash to hire cops amid nationwide increases in murders, shootings and carjackings. “We’re now providing more guidance on how they can use the $350 billion… to help reduce crime and address the root causes,” Biden said. “For example, cities experiencing an increase in gun violence are able to use American Rescue Plan dollars to hire police officers needed for community policing and to pay their overtime.” Biden said that he believed some cities cut funding for police due to pandemic-related budget woes. He didn’t mention a push by fellow Democrats to defund the police following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.

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