Trump signs executive order to reform US police
US President Donald Trump has today signed an executive order pledging to reform the police, aimed at improving law enforcement practices amid widespread backlash.
Federal grants will be offered to states to improve police practices, including the creation of a database to track abuses by officers and improved information sharing so that officers with poor records are not hired without their background being known.
The executive order follows weeks of protests by activists against racism and police brutality, prompted by the killing of George Floyd by an officer in Minneapolis last month.
“Americans want law and order, they demand law and order,” Trump said at a ceremony before the signing.
However he reiterated his opposition to “radical and dangerous” calls by protesters for the dismantling and defunding of police forces. In previous public comments and on Twitter, Trump has called for crackdowns on protesters and emphasised a forceful and militarised response to the social unrest.
The executive order also encourages police departments to employ the latest standards for use of force, and add social workers to responses to non-violent cases involving drug addiction and homelessness.
Republicans and Democrats are currently split on how best to legislate change within the police force, ahead of the upcoming presidential election on 3 November.
Democrats want to allow victims of misconduct and their families to sue police, while Republicans are pushing to reduce job protections for members of law enforcement unions. The two sides also are at odds over a Democratic proposal to ban police chokeholds.
A number of US cities have proposed more radical reforms, including in Minneapolis where some officials revealed plans to defund and dismantle the police department.
“Americans believe we must support the brave men and women in blue who police our streets and keep us safe,” Trump said today.
“Americans also believe we must improve accountability, increase transparency and invest more resources in police training, recruiting and community engagement.”