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Biden: Job of Police Is Harder Than Ever

At memorial ceremony, president says officers are expected to 'take a bullet' and act as psychologist
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2021 2:50 PM CDT
Biden: Job of Police Is Harder Than Ever
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden add flowers on a wreath during a ceremony honoring fallen law enforcement officers Saturday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Standing outside the building defended by Capitol Police on Jan. 6, President Biden on Saturday honored officers killed in the line of duty. The annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service in Washington recognized those killed in 2019 and 2020, and their families, the Hill reports. "I've been coming to this memorial for 40 years, missed a couple, and I've spoken to too many police memorials around the country," Biden said, "and it always amazes me how the public doesn't fully understand what we expect of our law enforcement officers."

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In his speech, Biden addressed:

  • The demands of the job. The nation counts on officers to "take a bullet," find criminals, and act as a psychologist in domestic disputes, he said. "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden added, per Axios.
  • Solutions. Unless the conditions in which police operate change, he warned, "We're going to have trouble having enough women and men come forward who want to do the job." That includes improving social services, he said, such as health care, counseling, housing, and education, "so there is not the discord."
  • Legislation. Biden listed gun control measures he supports, well as reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He didn't directly mention the movement for police changes that followed the killing of George Floyd, but he thanked the Fraternal Order of Police for working with him, per NPR. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is not going anywhere in Congress right now.

  • Loss. Last year was the deadliest on record for law enforcement officers, the president said, and he expressed empathy to families of fallen officers. "Your pain is America's pain," he said. Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff for the day.
  • The Capitol riot. Biden said officers defeated the attack on "a nation's values and our votes," adding, "Because of you, democracy survived. But only because of you."
(Read more President Biden stories.)

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