Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, America’s police have been seriously questioned on their methods. There is concern over how easily officers can breach the rights of the public, and many are calling for reform. Congress is talking about passing police reform laws, but President Trump beat them to the punch with a new executive order.
On June 16, President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities. While many protesters and even politicians have been calling for the government to reduce or stop funding for police departments, Trump has not supported that idea. His executive order provides more funds for training, for community outreach, and for greater cooperation between law enforcement officers and social workers.
The order demands revised training standards for police officers, including an emphasis on de-escalation methods and use-of-force guidelines. Specifically, the use of “chokeholds” is not allowed unless lethal force is an officer’s only option.
The president’s order establishes a system in which law enforcement agencies would be assessed by “independent credentialing bodies.” A department would be certified as having met certain standards in training and best practices. The Department of Justice is authorized to withhold grant funding from local and state agencies that do not work with these credentialing bodies.
Other measures include greater cooperation between social workers and police officers, who regularly encounter people with mental health or drug addiction problems. The secretary of Health and Human Services is directed to make recommendations on the allocation of funds to “community-support models addressing mental health, homelessness, and addiction.”
The executive order directs the Attorney General William Barr to create a database that would make state and local jurisdictions report and share information on individual officers who have complaints against them for excessive use of force, or who have been reported for other on-duty misconduct.
The president has managed to leap-frog members of Congress who are in the process of trying to bring their own police reform legislation into law.
The big question now is whether state, city and county Democrats will work with the president to comply with the executive order or try to get their own bill through Congress.