Trump to sign executive order to address police misconduct
By Franz Walker // Jun 16, 2020

President Donald Trump is set to sign a new executive order Tuesday that will address police misconduct, creating a tracking program for bad officers while encouraging forces to adopt best practices for the use of force.


“We’re going to be talking about things that we’ve been watching and seeing for the last month, and we’re going to have some solutions, I think some good solutions,” Trump told reporters Monday afternoon.

The move comes as Trump, who has espoused a return to law and order, faces increasing pressure to act against racism and overt reliance on excessive force in police departments nationwide.

Executive order crafted in consultation with police and community leaders

The executive order, which comes after weeks of protests in communities across the nation, has been crafted in close consultation with mayors, police officers, conservative African Americans, faith-based leaders and the families of victims.

The president is expected to use the order to lay out a case for the creation of a national database of police misconduct, preventing officers with a history of overly aggressive behavior from simply moving to another department or state to avoid scrutiny.

In addition, the order will also urge mental health professionals and social workers to work more closely alongside frontline police officers. It will also offer guidelines for new training and credentialling for police officers on de-escalating tense situations as well as when and when not to use force.

According to a senior administration official familiar with the matter, the goal of the order was not to demonize police officers.

Maintaining the support of police departments has been seen by many of Trump’s top aides as imperative for the president, even as some liberal activists push to defund police departments and divert money to community programs instead.

“I think this will be very comprehensive,” Trump said of the upcoming order.

“Basically, we’re going to be talking about things we’ve been watching and seeing for the last month. And we’re going to have some solutions — I think some good solutions. And some of it, as you know, it’s about great people,” Trump said. “We need great people in our police departments. And we have mostly great people, I would say that. I would say that with certainty. We have mostly great people … But we will do better, even better.”

Many Republicans see policing as an area where the party can draw sharp contrasts with Democrats ahead of the upcoming election. However, this area extends beyond the death of George Floyd, which served as the flashpoint for the riots. In particular, this would mean leaving actual wholesale changes to mayors and other local government officials, with the Oval Office only recommending tweaks to them. (Related: Trump to U.S. governors: “Toughen up, control riots.”)

“The reality is you have to respect our federalist system,” explained Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati and former Ohio secretary of state. “Safe streets cannot be guaranteed from the Oval Office or the governor’s mansion. That is local leadership.”

Despite the needs of the upcoming election, Republicans are still hoping to introduce policies that the Democrats can also support. According to two people familiar with the discussions surrounding the order, this would mean leaving any major details regarding police reform to future legislation.

The Republican-led Senate is already expected to introduce its own version of a bill, introduced in the Democratic-led House of Representatives, later this week. The House bill bans, among other things, chokeholds as well as no-knock warrants in drug cases. In addition, it also weakens qualified immunity, making it easier for citizens to pursue civil and even criminal action against the police.

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