United States President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday signed an Executive Order in the Rose Garden of the White House to reform the police.
The EO comes as a national movement grows to “defund the police,” in response to the street violence and distrust between citizens and law enforcement professionals. While fanned by the mainstream media into a frenzy, the reforms put forward also presaged real change that would benefit Americans in the long run.
Speaking prior to signing the order, the President was placative as he addressed the current division and the loss of lives associated with the violence and racial tensions in the country on one hand and insisting on his strong support for police.
In his speech, Trump spoke of how he met with the families of the victims of racially-charged violence including the parents of Ahmaud Arbery, who died at the hands of two white men earlier this year while ‘jogging’ in a high-profile case in Georgia.
“We’re united by our desire to ensure peace and dignity and equality for all Americans,” – Donald J. Trump
“We’re united by our desire to ensure peace and dignity and equality for all Americans,” Trump said.
“These are incredible people … and it’s so sad. Many of these families lost their loved ones in deadly interactions with police … All Americans mourn by your side, your loved ones will not have died in vain,” Trump said. “I can promise to fight for justice for all of our people and I gave a commitment to all of those families … We are going to pursue what we said we will be pursuing, and we will be pursuing it strongly.”
Trump’s order entitled, “Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities” provides instructions on use of force best practices, information sharing to track officers who have repeated complaints against them and federal incentives for police departments to deploy non-police experts on issues like mental health, homelessness and addiction.
Section 1 of the document states “we believe that all persons are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights to life and liberty.”
“The Constitution declares in its preamble that one of its primary purposes was to establish Justice…Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial leaders must act in furtherance of that legacy.”
Trump said during his speech as part of his reform policy that “chokeholds will be banned except if an officer’s life is at risk” — an immediate response to what started today’s crisis, in both the George Floyds case in Minneapolis and the Eric Garner case in New York.
When signing the order, Trump said the police will have the highest professional standards “These standards will be as high and as strong as there is on Earth.”
Section 2 deals with credentials and keeping up with certifications as a way to ensure proper policing techniques and safe community standards are being met.
It partially states that, “State and local law enforcement agencies must constantly assess and improve their practices and policies to ensure transparent, safe, and accountable delivery of law enforcement services to their communities… and identify and correct those internal deficiencies before those deficiencies result in injury to the public or to law enforcement officers.”
Section 3 will allow for the Attorney General to “create a database to coordinate the sharing of information between and among Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies concerning instances of excessive use of force related to law enforcement matters, accounting for applicable privacy and due process rights.”
Further reforms have been addressed in section 4 the document to include how law enforcement should approach mental health, homelessness and addiction going forward.
“As a society, we must take steps to safely and humanely care for those who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse in a manner that addresses such individuals’ needs and the needs of their communities.”