Does Joe Biden Want to ‘Defund the Police’?

No. His campaign website has long called for further funding to increase diversity and add oversight.

President Trump and his campaign have repeatedly claimed that Joe Biden wants to defund the police on Twitter and in campaign emails:

Biden’s rapid response director Andrew Bates said in a statement on Monday that Biden does not want to defund police and instead wants to reform the police. In a clip from an interview with CBS that was released later that day, Biden himself said, “No, I don't support defunding the police. 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.”

While the interview came after Trump’s Twitter accusations, Biden’s “Plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice” on his campaign website has for some time stated that Biden supports further funding of police departments to increase racial diversity in departments and add further oversight. The Wayback Machine first archived the page in July 2019. The relevant section of his website outlines Biden’s plan as follows:

Reinvigorate community-oriented policing. Policing works best when officers are out of their cruisers and walking the streets, engaging with and getting to know members of their communities. But in order to do that, police departments need resources to hire a sufficient number of officers. Biden spearheaded the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which authorized funding both for the hiring of additional police officers and for training on how to undertake a community policing approach. However, the program has never been funded to fulfill the original vision for community policing. Biden will reinvigorate the COPS program with a $300 million investment. As a condition of the grant, hiring of police officers must mirror the racial diversity of the community they serve. Additionally, as president, Biden will establish a panel to scrutinize what equipment is used by law enforcement in our communities.

Given the Biden campaign’s spokesman statement, Biden’s statement, and Biden’s long-stated position on additional funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services, there is nothing currently to support Trump’s claim that the Democratic presidential nominee wants to defund police. 

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.