In days past, and for most of the former vice president Joe Biden’s career, he has been a strong advocate for law enforcement and criminal justice. However, in light of recent national events, as well as the upcoming presidential election, it would seem his standards on our police system have changed. And as a result, he’s losing the support of many police groups who once helped put him and Obama in the White House.
Former senator and vice president Joe Biden has long purported himself as “Middle-Class Joe,” someone who, while being wholly part of the Democratic Party, supported unions and law enforcement, which tends to be a more conservative line of thinking. And it has earned him much support over the years.
In fact, it is believed that his push for the 1994 crime bill, as well as the Brady Law, and other enhanced penalties, are what allowed Obama to take the White House in 2008. Bill Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations or NAPO, says that the organization endorsed Obama for both terms, primarily because of Biden’s presence on the ticket.
NAPO, which was founded in 1978, represents over 241,000 police officers and unites the Police Benevolent Association’ 1,000 some police units and chapter associations all over the US. It has long been known as the single, most unified voice for law enforcement in the nation. And as such, it has a significant amount of pull.
But now they are pulling that support of Biden.
Johnson says, “Police are shaking their heads – he used to be a stand-up guy who backed law enforcement. But it seems in his old age, for whatever reason, he’s writing a sad final chapter when it comes to supporting law enforcement.”
And he adds, “Clearly, he’s made a lot of changes the way candidates do during the primary process. But he kept moving left, and fell off the deep end,” according to Politico.
But NAPO isn’t the only one no longer willing to endorse Biden.
The Fraternal Order of Police has also voiced concern over Biden’s changing ways.
The executive director for the largest police union in the nation, Jim Pasco, says, “There are two evolutions in two directions. On law-and-order issues, Biden was right of center: the ’94 crime bill, the Brady Law, and enhanced penalties. But as time has gone by, his positions have moderated, moderated, moderated to where we are today, where he would not be considered a law-and-order guy in the sense that law enforcement sees it.”
Pasco added, “Also, as time’s gone by, the law enforcement community – especially the rank and file – has become far more conservative. Today, the FOP and other labor groups are far-less open to addressing gun-control issues, things that traditionally they supported and that Biden worked very closely and successfully with them on.”
And Pasco knows this first hand. In addition to leading the FOP, he used to be an in-house lobbyist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. He was known to work directly with Biden on several occasions during his time in the Senate.
Most of this criticism comes after Biden has, as both Johnson and Pasco have stated, continued to move his policies on law enforcement further to the left, especially in light of the wrongful death of Minneapolis, Minnesota resident George Floyd by a white police officer.
Following days of riots and looting, with many officers being injured and even killed, Biden addressed the nation from his hiding spot in the basement and called for “national policing reforms” as well as a “National Police Oversight Commission” and the ban of using chokeholds by police.
He told the nation, “We all need to take a hard look at the culture that allows for these senseless tragedies to keep happening.” Meanwhile, the assumed presidential nominee didn’t even mention the lives lost on the side of law enforcement, men and women who were protecting innocents and the livelihoods of their fellow community members.
All of this has led many in law enforcement to believe Biden is doing little but pandering to the left to get more votes.
Sheriff’s Association President Bob Gualtieri says that Biden’s recent calls for reform and such are a direct “contradiction” and “sounds like a lot of political rhetoric,” which isn’t what we need right now.
Gualtieri admits “we have work to do,” but says these ‘reforms’ and continued political posturing aren’t the solution.