President Trump is preparing to sign an executive order Tuesday that will create a system for tracking police misconduct, incentivize officer training and send social workers on some nonviolent police calls.
Trump said Monday afternoon that the order would be a “very comprehensive” response to unrest over the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police. Its details were spelled out to reporters on an evening call.
A senior Trump administration official said the reforms could be “revolutionary” and that the White House expects broad support, including from police representatives who will attend the order’s signing ceremony.
“You’ll never solve this problem by demonizing the police,” the official said.
The tracking of officer misconduct will be broadly supported, he said, because “nobody hates bad cops more than good cops.”
Many details would be implemented by the Justice Department and Trump will also call on Congress to pass additional legislation, officials said.
Incentives for training officers would require that police departments meet certification standards to get federal funds. Those certifications would teach de-escalation techniques and ban chokeholds except in situations where deadly force is allowed, a second official said.
“There are a lot of great standards for use of force around the country,” the first official said. He said many police departments whose conduct triggered national unrest — such as in Minneapolis, Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. — had “outdated” standards.
The reform to send social workers with police on some missions would specifically be geared toward homeless people and those with mental health and addiction issues.
Trump said on Monday that the order “is about law and order, but it’s about justice also and it’s about safety.”
“I think you’re going to see some things that a lot of people thought would not happen — you wouldn’t be able to get them done, but we’ll get them done,” Trump told reporters in the White House Cabinet Room.
“We can get it done and will get it done,” Trump continued. “And certainly we can add on to what we do by the work that’s being done in the House and the Senate if we think it’s appropriate. Maybe they can get something passed and maybe they can’t.”
Last week, Trump said he was preparing an executive order that would accomplish “the opposite” of defunding police by providing officers better training, national standards and more resources.
The executive order comes after House Democrats introduced a large package of reforms last week, and as Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) prepare a different bill.
Trump spoke Monday after additional anti-police brutality protests following the Atlanta shooting death of Rayshard Brooks during a struggle with officers at a drunk-driving stop.
“I thought it was a terrible situation, I studied it closely,” Trump said of Brooks’ death. “To me it was very disturbing.”
Trump said in a Friday interview with Fox News that he favors restricting the use of chokeholds on criminal suspects in most cases. “It would be I think a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” he said.
The sweeping police reform bill unveiled last week by congressional Democrats also proposed a system to track problematic officers, and would limit the safeguards in place keeping officers from facing legal or civil action in court.
The Democratic bill would forbid use of chokeholds, ban police from conducting no-knock raids when serving drug warrants, curtail the transfer of surplus military equipment to local and state agencies and lower the threshold to federally prosecute officers if they exhibit a “reckless disregard” for someone’s life.
Scott said in a Sunday interview that the GOP bill would not include increasing officer liability because it would be a “poison pill.” Attorney General William Barr last week said he opposes increasing police liability because it “would result, certainly, in police pulling back.”
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