Today the President went to Ohio for the Graduation of the Columbus Police Division’s 114th Class. He went as the Department of Justice was making available $2 billion in Justice Assistance Grants from the recovery act, funding that will put more people to work -- more cops on the street, more prosecutors helping in overloaded offices, more factory jobs making law enforcement equipment (learn much more on that at recovery.gov). It was also another very bad day in economic news, demonstrating why it was so necessary to pass the recovery plan and start getting the country moving forward again.
This city of Columbus needs the courage and the commitment of this graduating class to keep it safe, to make sure that people have the protection that they need. This economy needs your employment to keep it running. Just this morning we learned that we lost another 651,000 jobs throughout the country in the month of February alone, which brings the total number of jobs lost in this recession to an astounding 4.4 million.
Four point four million jobs. I don't need to tell the people of this state what statistics like this mean, because so many of you have been watching jobs disappear long before this recession hit.
President Obama made clear that while the economy he inherited seemed like it was in an endless free fall, "Well, that is not a future I accept for the United States of America." The recovery plan will help make sure the graduating class he saluted today doesn’t find themselves hitting a brick wall of budget cuts, and can still find the work they thought would be there to support themselves and their families. And that is just one sector in just one town, something that will be replicated all over the country:
In Savannah, Georgia, the police department would use this funding to hire more crime and intelligence analysts and put more cops on the beat protecting our schools. In Long Beach, California, it will be able to help fund 17,000 hours of overtime for law enforcement officials who are needed in high-crime areas. West Haven, Connecticut will be able to restore crime prevention programs that were cut, even though they improved the quality of life in the city's most troubled neighborhoods. And the state of Iowa will be able to rehire drug enforcement
President Obama made clear that these real stories and real lives are what has made him so passionate about passing a plan that could create real jobs:
So for those who still doubt the wisdom of our recovery plan, I ask them to talk to the teachers who are still able to teach our children because we passed this plan. I ask them to talk to the nurses who are still able to care for our sick, and the firefighters and first responders who will still be able to keep our communities safe. I ask them to come to Ohio and meet the 25 men and women who will soon be protecting the streets of Columbus because we passed this plan. (Applause.) I look at these young men and women, I look into their eyes and I see their badges today and I know we did the right thing.