During a Thursday roundtable meeting with law enforcement, small business owners, and faith leaders in Dallas, President Donald Trump revealed that his administration is finalizing an executive order that will address use of force in police departments, The Hill reported. The news comes amid renewed scrutiny of United States law enforcement in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which came after Derek Chauvin subdued him with a carotid hold.
“We’re working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation,” the president said at the meeting.
According to Trump, the order encourages police to use “force with compassion.”
“And that means force, but force with compassion. But if you’re going to have to really do a job, if somebody’s really bad, you’re going to have to do it with real strength, real power.”
The president also took aim at calls to defund the police — a movement allegedly made up of left-wing activists and progressive lawmakers that call for law enforcement funding to be diverted into social programs. Along with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Trump has shut down such calls.
“We’ll take care of our police,” Trump said at the meeting. “We’re not defunding police. If anything, we’re going the other route. We’re making sure our police are well-trained, perfectly trained, they have the best equipment.”
As reported by National Post, Dexter Voisin, dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, said defunding the police is necessary to keep police forces accountable. When such forces continue to receive increased funds, Voisin said it leads to the militarization of the police force, which he claims causes them to use increased policing to deal with social issues.
Voisin also claimed that many of the things that affect mental health and crime, including homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and race-related racism, would benefit from funds redirected from the police forces.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristoff argued that Portugal is a prime example of how defunding the police can work. Kristoff noted that in the 1990s, both the United States and Portugal responded to their drug problems with different approaches. While the former doubled down on policing, while the latter followed expert advice — they decriminalized drugs and invested in social work. Although Kristoff noted that Portugal’s plan didn’t work perfectly, he said it worked “well” and appeared to have won its war on drugs with the strategy — something he claimed cannot be said for America.