Bush urges volunteering with police, emergency crews

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- President Bush on Monday revived his appeal for Americans to do their part against terrorism by volunteering with police and emergency crews.

"We need this participation from our citizenry," he said.

The president toured a citizens police academy here and talked with mayors about funds for the Citizen Corps he wants to expand to augment local emergency response.

Bush said he would ask Congress for $50 million this year for the campaign, and urged the public to sign up through a toll-free number -- 800-USA-CORPS -- and a special Internet site, www.citizencorps.gov. "This is a good way to help in your community if you're interested in helping," Bush said.

He noted that Knoxville's police chief said the department relies heavily on volunteers who answer phones or just offer general help. "I would say the vast majority of police departments need volunteer labor to make their departments function," Bush said.

Hecklers interrupted three times as Bush elaborated on his terrorism response plans, including an increase in military spending, during his speech at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. At one point he tried to drown out chanting hecklers by speaking louder, and got some help from counter-shouters when one man called out, "We won't fight your racist war." That man was led away by security.

"You probably got a sense of my strong feelings about the enemy. I believe they're evil," Bush said. "The best way to fight evil at home is to do some good. The best way to fight them abroad is to unleash the military."

Question of insurance

After returning to the White House on Monday afternoon, Bush planned to address labor leaders and call on the Senate to pass legislation designed to bring under control rising premiums on terrorism insurance.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said a resort planned in Nevada that would generate 1,600 jobs is on hold because of a lack of terrorism insurance.

The Miami Dolphins and New York Giants football teams have lost coverage, and the Mall of America saw its premiums increase tenfold.

"It's a real vulnerability in our safety net," Fleischer said.

Senate leaders on Monday failed to agree on how best to expedite action on the legislation. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the second-ranked Democrat, proposed that the Senate accept a Democratic version, sending the measure to a House-Senate conference for negotiations.

Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma, the No. 2 Republican, instead suggested that both parties offer one amendment to the bill passed by the House last November.

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