THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN CONFERENCE CALL TO MAYORS IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF GRANTS
11:57 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello.
MAYOR BROWN: Mr. President, Willie Brown, California.
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Mayor. You're getting good press over here on the East Coast. (Laughter.)
MAYOR BROWN: You're getting better press than I'm getting.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know about that. Well, I'm glad you're all on the phone. As I think you know, today we are providing more law enforcement dollars to more communities than on any other single day in the history of this country. And in addition to all of you, I'm also here with your colleague, John Norquist, the Mayor of Milwaukee. He happened to be in town today, so I asked him to come in and sit with me as I announce that today we are putting almost 9,000 new police officers on the street.
MAYOR BROWN: Outstanding.
THE PRESIDENT: That will bring our total to 43,000 new police officers since I signed the Crime Bill into law just 20 months ago. That means we're running well ahead of schedule in reaching our goal of putting 100,000 new police officers on the street.
This afternoon, I will attend the annual ceremony at the Peace Officers Memorial, and we will honor the memory of the 161 officers who were killed in the line of duty last year. We now, on this schedule that we're on, we are not only well ahead of schedule, we were prepared to put 100,000 police on the street in five years. We're now at 43,000 in 20 months. We're also under budget, and it's helping all of you to make our streets safer and to decrease crime.
We have just learned, I'm sure all of you know, that serious crimes have decreased for the fourth year in a row, including an eight percent drop in the murder rate. Community policing has a lot to do with this, and I congratulate all of you who have, each in your own way, implemented it, helping to get officers back on the street and involved in the community and working as positive role models and preventing crime as well as catching criminals.
And I want to pledge to you that I will continue to work with you and continue to challenge the American people to work with you. When I was at Penn State last week delivering the commencement address, I urged the American people to join neighborhood crime watch groups and to do other things that would support community policing. And I hope that we will see a big increase in the number of citizens who are supporting our common efforts now.
Let me call on a couple of you, starting with Mayor Riordan. I know your community policing efforts have made a big difference, especially your public-private partnership encouraging businesses to play a role in keeping communities safer. And I'm glad that you will be getting 710 new officers.
MAYOR RIORDAN: Mr. President, we're very proud of our community policing, and on behalf of more than three million Angelinos, I thank you for your vote of confidence in our police department. Neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, we are fighting crime in L.A. Providing the resources to add the 710 new officers is great. L.A. is committed to expanding and improving the finest police department in the world.
Remember that, Willie. (Laughter.)
In less than three years, with your help and that of Congress, we've increased the ranks of the LAPD by nearly 20 percent from 7,600 officers to more than 8,800 today. Through computers, overtime, and other innovations, we've added the equivalent of an additional 500 officers.
Yesterday, I spoke with over 200 members of the Pacific Divisions Community Police Advisory Board, one of 18 throughout the city who compliment our neighborhood groups. Residents, business owners, and young people have joined with police officers to prevent and fight crime. Their enthusiasm, pride, and sense of ownership was awesome.
Mr. President, there's a clear trend in Los Angeles. More officers on the streets means less crime; more community involvement means a safer city. Your announcement today that Los Angeles will receive $53 million in crime bill monies is great news for Angelinos. It gives us the momentum to keep Project Safety Los Angeles on course.
On behalf of all Angelinos, I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And I appreciate that, Mayor Riordan. I appreciate what you're doing.
I'd like to now call on Mayor Mike White in Cleveland. I understand that the help you've gotten from the police program has helped you to permit police officers to live within the neighborhood they patrol and make them a more vital part of the community. And that's a very intriguing idea and an old-fashioned idea, I'm sure, that still works very well. And as you know, Cleveland will be getting more police officers today as well. And so, Mr. Mayor, we would like to hear from you.
MAYOR WHITE: Mr. President, on behalf of all of my fellow citizens, we want to thank you and to express our real gratefulness to you for the extraordinary efforts that you have put in, the time you have put in in helping to reduce crime in Cleveland and around the country. With the initial help we received from the program that you have committed to, now with this help, we've seen our crime go down in Cleveland by some 16 percent over the last five years.
I remember you coming into office committing to put 100,000 new police officers on the streets of America. I'm proud to be able to stand here today with so many other mayors as one of the beneficiaries. We believe that today is a major down payment on that commitment, and we are very proud of what you have been able to do with the Congress by pushing them on this very, very important issue.
As you know, community policing is making a difference in Cleveland and around the country. Your COPS funding have allowed us to develop a number of programs we think are so important. And three of them include, first of all, a RAP house -- the Residential Area Policing program -- which you talked about earlier, which keeps police officers from Cleveland in some of the worst, crime-ridden neighborhoods of Cleveland. We have seen tremendous reductions in all categories of crime while that RAP house has been in the neighborhood, allowing us to reknit the civic fabric of various communities and seeing a closer relationship with those neighborhoods and the police department.
Our beat patrol program, which we are very proud of, already 36 officers on beat patrols from sunup to sundown and even into the night. The officers which you have committed to us today will account for a 60-percent increase in the manpower for our beat patrols citywide. So we are most appreciative.
And thirdly, many officers now on our park and walk programs where they will drive throughout the neighborhoods for a period of time and then get out of their cars and walk through the neighborhoods -- all of these, I think, giving a clear sense of security to many of our residents.
Mr. President, you're a man of your word, and Cleveland appreciates it and wants you to know that the money and the officers that you have committed to us today will be well-utilized to continue our shared fight to reduce crime and to return our neighborhoods to the safe communities that they were several years ago. We of Cleveland thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mayor White. And I want to thank the others who are on the line. Let me just call your names and make sure I've got everybody.
MAYOR HERENTON: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Vice Mayor Sharp of Knoxville?
VICE MAYOR SHARP: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Mayor Corradini of Salt Lake?
MAYOR CORRADINI: I'm here.
THE PRESIDENT: And Mayor Delaney of Jacksonville?
MAYOR DELANEY: Right here, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Mayor Greco of Tampa.
MAYOR GRECO: Thank you, Mr. President. We all thank you here.
THE PRESIDENT: Mayor Bosely of St. Louis?
MAYOR BOSELY: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll see you tomorrow, won't I?
MAYOR BOSELY: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: The day after tomorrow.
MAYOR BOSELY: Right.
THE PRESIDENT: Mayor James of Newark?
MAYOR JAMES: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Mayor Finbeiner of Toledo?
MAYOR FINBEINER: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: And Mayor Lanier of Houston. Is he on the phone?
Q He's stuck in City Council. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: And Sheriff Glover of Jacksonville County, are you on the phone?
SHERIFF GLOVER: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: And, of course, Mayor Brown. I said hello to you earlier.
MAYOR BROWN: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: I thank all of you very much, and I know you will do a lot with these 43,000 additional officers to make the streets of America safer. Thank you very much.
END 12:02 P.M. EDT