Tri-State officials react to Biden’s plan on combatting violent crime, gun violence

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Local officials weigh in as President Joe Biden lays out his vision for cutting down on gun violence in places like the River City. He announced Wednesday his plan to combat violent crime. 

“We can’t leave things where they are, we have to make sure things get better,” said NAACP Evansville Branch President Rev. Gerald Arnold. 

So far seven homicides have been reported in Evansville in 2021, with nearly all of them unsolved.

Rev. Arnold said crime fighting reform is needed now more than ever. 

“You have to give the Biden administration a chance and opportunity to speak to the nation as a whole, not just to the police organization in Mt. Vernon (or whenever) but as a whole to the nation,” Rev. Arnold said. 

Reverend Arnold said Biden’s efforts may help deliver more oversight of local law enforcement, and overall he says the Evansville Police Department has been accessible. 

“The NAACP is in favor of having police, we believe that they should have the resources,” Rev. Arnold said. 

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke would not comment on the issue, instead he forwarded us to Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin. 

According to the Biden strategy, federal tools and resources will be provided to local law enforcement to help address violent crime in the summer. 

It’s something the EPD says it already has in place – the V.I.P.E.R. Unit. 

“Any resources that we are going to get from the feds will help,” explained Chief Bolin. “A lot of time that is in the form of overtime money or funding, we will greatly take, because we have great relationships with our federal partners so we will take all that we can get.” 

Among other things, the strategy also works to invest in community violence prevention and expand programming and support for teenagers and young adults during the summer. 

Chief Bolin said he just hopes the new effort isn’t just for political gain.

“Our local federal partners already go above and beyond and they help anyway they can, so if they are really going to give them so much funding to help – we are all for that,” Chief Bolin said. “I think it would be great, so what I read sounds good, I hope there’s really meat to it and it’s not just a political talking point.”

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