As protest and civil unrest spread throughout the nation declaring for the “defunding of police” and racial justice, lawmakers of both the Republican and Democrat parties have come together to pursue legislation under current action in order to reform law enforcement. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday aimed at tracking misconduct by law enforcement and creating incentives for police departments to improve their practices when it comes to use of force.
The executive order encompasses that police departments update their training and credentialing and will prioritize federal grants for police departments that are certified by bodies that train officers on de-escalation techniques and use of force standards. The order also requires the attorney general to create a database to track individual police officers who have excessive use of force complaints in which that information would be shared between departments and would “regularly and periodically” be made publicly available. Police departments would also get incentives to involve trained professionals, such as social workers, to accompany calls for certain nonviolent reports including mental health, drug addiction and homelessness.
Policies were also put in place that prohibit chokeholds by police officers except in situations where deadly force is allowed by law, meaning one’s own life is at risk.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Sen Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Attorney General William Barr were among a number of dignitaries in attendance at the signing ceremony. Representatives from a number of law enforcement organizations were also present.
According to a senior administration official, “The Trump administration’s goal is to “bring police closer together with the communities.”
Before signing the order, President Trump held a speech in the Rose Garden at the White House praising police officers saying that “the least we can do, because they deserve it so much, they have to get our gratitude and we have to give them great respect for what they do.” Trump added, “In many cases local law enforcement is underfunded, understaffed and under supported.”
President Trump then passionately rejected the calls to defund the police. “I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments. Americans know the truth: Without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy, and without safety there is catastrophe. Though we may all come from different places and different backgrounds, we’re united by our desire to ensure peace and dignity and equality or all Americans.”
The white House said that President Trump “stands behind our dedicated law enforcement all the way.” The executive order put in place will help uphold clear and high policing standards, promote accountability in law enforcement, and help equip police officers for constructive community engagement to deliver a future of safety for Americans of every race, religion, color, and creed.
“Without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy and without safety there is a catastrophe. When you remove the police, you hurt those who have the least, the most,” President Trump said.
The largest law enforcement union in the U.S., The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), praised the President’s order and said, “It strikes a great balance between the vital need for public and officer safety, and the equally vital need for lasting, meaningful, and enforceable police reform. In our view, President Trump and Congressional leaders are working constructively with law enforcement and community stakeholders to undertake earnest law enforcement reforms that will make our officers and the public they protect safer.”