This article includes everything you need to know about the Executive Order President Trump signed into law entitled: “Safe Policing for Safe Communities.”
This executive order was signed into law as a response to the political backlash seen after several high-profile police interactions.
So, what reforms to policing are in this new executive order?
Is the bill actually going to improve policing?
Will it lead to a nationalized police force?
Let’s break it down!
Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities
“As Americans, we believe that all persons are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights to life and liberty.”-President Donald Trump
On June 16th, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the new executive order into law.
The executive order is broken up into 6 sections, with 4 specific reformations to policing in America;
These policing reforms target:
- Certification and credentialing,
- Information sharing,
- Mental health, homelessness, and addiction,
- Enact tools and resources to improve law enforcement practices.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the 4 specific calls for police reformation laid out in this order.
Police Reformation 1: Certification and Credentialing
The first measure called for in the new order, is that police:
“Constantly assess and improve their practices and policies to ensure transparent, safe, and accountable delivery of law enforcement services to their communities.”
The consequence for not doing so?
Federal Funding May Be Cut Off
Simply put, agencies that do not constantly show improvements in their policing. May be subject to have federal funding cut off by the Attorney General.
Formation of Police Credentialing Bodies
Furthermore, this section of the executive order gives authority to the Attorney General to:
“Certify independent credentialing bodies that meet standards to be set by the Attorney General”.
These credentialing agencies will ensure that local and state police departments meet certain requirements in areas such as:
- Proper use of force,
- De-escalation techniques,
- And performance management techniques.
Additionally, this section of the order prohibits the use of choke holds. Unless the officer’s life is in danger.
Police Reformation 2: Information Sharing
The second reformation is right in line for a change in policing that has been called for.
For a very long time...
Here’s the deal, this part of the bill calls for the creation of a national database. Which will share information between state, local, federal, tribal and territorial law enforcement.
What will the database track?
- Terminations or de-certifications of law enforcement officers
- Criminal convictions of law enforcement for on-duty conduct
- And civil judgements against officers for improper use of force.
It’s true, a national database can help curtail the issue of problematic officers who are fired from one department. And simply move onto the next one with no record of their previous actions.
Again, this part of the order will be enforced by the DOJ. De-funding police departments that fail to submit the required information.
Police Reformation 3: Mental Health and Homelessness Provisions
“Since the mid-twentieth century, America has witnessed a reduction in targeted mental health treatment. Ineffective policies have left more individuals with mental health needs on our Nation’s streets, which has expanded the responsibilities of law enforcement officers.”
“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.”
One of the main reasons behind the call to defund the police, was a push to specialize, or re-allocate funds sent to individual police departments.
And truly, this specific reformation hits on a hugely overlooked topic in policing.
Police need to have the resources or training to deal with mentally ill, or emotionally unstable individuals.
What are some of the specific ways that this part of the executive order aims to improve policing?
Again, this solution should not be overlooked.
Simply put, improving training of law enforcement officials is an excellent way to improve their interactions with the public.
One of the ways this executive order aims to help do just that is to:
“Identify and develop opportunities to train law enforcement officers with respect to encounters with individuals suffering from impaired mental health, homelessness, and addiction.”
Increase the Capacity of Social Workers
This order also seeks to increase the capacity of social workers who are working directly with law enforcement.
These actions will decrease the burden on law enforcement.
Moreover, the order also pushes for more “co-responder programs”. Which will also increase involvement of social workers and other mental health professionals.
Police Reformation 4: New Legislation and Grants
Finally, the order calls for new legislation to be proposed by the Attorney General:
“in consultation with the Assistant to the President for Domestic policy and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget””.
Together they will develop and propose new legislation to Congress.
Proposed legislation will include grants to further improve training, and build community engagement.
Grants to include funding for:
- State and local law enforcement to comply with credentialing.
- Training and technical assistance for adopting new and improved use of force techniques.
- Retaining high performing law enforcement officers.
- Confidential mental health programs for officers.
- Community outreach programs to help officers connect with their communities.
The bottom Line on Trump’s Safe Policing for Safe Communities
Look, as someone who is constantly suspicious of any government action such as this…
I can’t help but think that this is a doorway to a nationalized, federally controlled policing system.
Beyond that, the bill appears to take actionable steps to improve policing. And overall, it appears to be a very good step in the right direction.