Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is giving his first-quarter salary — $43,750 — to the Virginia Law Enforcement Assistance Program, a move that honors his campaign commitment to donate his salary as governor.
“The Virginia Law Enforcement Assistance Program (VALEAP) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) committed to serving law enforcement officers and first responders who have undergone traumatic critical incidents in the line of duty or in their personal lives,” according to the group’s website. “Established in 2008, in the wake of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, the organization has served more than 500 officers from over 60 Virginia agencies and trained over 150 law enforcement peers to date.”
“The program implements proven methods of peer support and mental health services to provide psychological and emotional healing to all participants,” the website states.
Youngkin is a Republican who entered office earlier this year after defeating Democrat Terry McAuliffe — a former Virginia governor — during the state’s 2021 gubernatorial election.
The donation comes as some Americans hold deeply divergent views about law enforcement — while many support funding the police and have a largely positive view of police officers, some liberals advocate for defunding the police.
Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri has been an vocal advocate for defunding the police, an idea that critics contend would result in increased crime.
“Our policing system is built to enable white supremacy. It is not just a few bad apples, it’s a rotten tree. We need to transform public safety — and that starts with defunding the police and reinvesting in our communities,” Bush tweeted in 2021.
A Politico Morning Consult poll of registered voters that was conducted in early February found that a majority thought that increased funding for police departments would result in a decline in the incidence of violent crime in the U.S.
While 36% thought additional funding for police departments would decrease the rate of violent crime in America by a lot, 33% though it would decrease the rate by some, while 22% thought that additional police funding would not result in any violent crime rate decrease.
The poll also found that 26% thought that hiring social workers to assist police in dealing with individuals experiencing emotional issues would cause the violent crime rate to fall by a lot, while 37% thought this would lead to some decrease, and 25% thought it would not result in any violent crime rate decrease.