Biden Mourns Fallen Officers at Memorial and Praises Police for Reducing Crime

President Biden mourned fallen police officers at a memorial service on Wednesday, praising the efforts of law enforcement officials and saying that his administration’s efforts had helped lower crime rates in communities across the United States.

Mr. Biden, speaking directly to police officers and the families of those who have died, used the solemn service as a way to pay his respects but also as a way to subtly address criticism, levied by Republicans, that crime has skyrocketed on his watch.

“It’s no accident that violent crime is near a record 50-year low,” Mr. Biden told the crowd gathered for the annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol. “It’s because of extraordinary effort by all of you and your communities, together with historic steps taken to support you.”

This year’s ceremony honored some 222 officers who had died, and Mr. Biden, who has tried to shore up support among police rank-and-file through appearances and visits like these, said he understood what law enforcement officials were up against.

“Being a cop is one hell of a lot harder than it’s ever been,” Mr. Biden said. “We expect everything of you.” He added that police officers were expected to be drug counselors, social workers and guardians in communities “flooded with weapons of fear.”

According to data released by the F.B.I. this week, 194 police officers were intentionally killed while on duty between 2021 and 2023, more than any other three-year period in the last 20 years. Agencies reported 79,091 officers had been assaulted in 2023, marking the highest officer assault rate in the past 10 years.

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