After weeks of protest, President Donald Trump takes first, modest steps toward police reform

HOUSTON – After weeks of protests calling for an end to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on police reform on Tuesday.

What does the executive order do?

The president's executive order outlines the following series of recommendations:

- Establish a national database to track police officers with multiple reports of misconduct.

- Encourage police to partner with mental health professionals when dealing with calls concerning mental health issues, homelessness or drug use.

- Incentivize higher standards for use of force, including a credentialing system the president says will lead to banning chokeholds, unless the officer’s life is at risk.

“We will prioritize federal grants from the Department of Justice to police departments that seek independent credentialing, certifying that they meet high standards, and in fact in certain cases the highest standard, that’s where they do the best, on the use of force and de-escalation training,” Trump said.

What’s not included

The president's executive order does not address calls from civil rights leaders, police reform advocates and protesters for an end to systemic racism within the nation's police departments.

De’Andre Hutchison, a Houston police officer and president of the Afro-American Police Officers’ League, said diversifying the ranks of departments is one way to do that.

“I thank the president for making a statement on police reform because it’s very top of conversation and very needed in the community but today I heard a lot of rhetoric,” Hutchison said. “What we need is accountability. When an officer violates the oath and uses excessive force on a continued and routine basis there needs to be some sort of consequence for that type of behavior to discourage others from doing it so that’s what’s going to bring these communities together that’s what’s going to build the trust."

What’s next?

Many of the suggestions outlined in Trump’s executive order would require funding from Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans are working on separate pieces of legislation on national police reform.

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