Landmark Executive Order on Safe Policing

Many cities in America have been ravaged by rioters in the wake of recent deaths of unarmed black citizens at the hands of police. In addition, the criticism against President Trump’s law and order policies has been nonstop, even suggesting the defunding and abolishing of police in major cities. These emotional reactions illicit a chorus of support in the heat of the moment, but are, quite frankly, outrageous when considering that they would just open the doors to lawlessness akin to what is happening in Seattle, Washington. To address these complex issues with effective solutions, it takes wisdom, research, and collaborative partnership with those truly interested in positive outcomes.

In recent weeks, President Trump and his emissaries have been meeting across the country with black leaders, pastors, police, and a host of other stakeholders to identify real solutions to issues of lethal force, harassment, and other areas of police misconduct. Trump was not turning a deaf ear to anyone, irrespective of their agenda or opposition to his presidency or criticism. He and his representatives quietly went about the work of listening, hearing, developing approaches, vetting those approaches, and finally developing an Executive Order to address police misconduct while at the same time preserving the foundational function of law enforcement to protect and serve.

Trump said in issuing the Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities, “Law enforcement officers provide the essential protection that all Americans require to raise their families and lead productive lives…Unfortunately, there have been instances in which some officers have misused their authority, challenging the trust of the American people, with tragic consequences for individual victims, their communities, and our Nation.  All Americans are entitled to live with the confidence that the law enforcement officers and agencies in their communities will live up to our Nation’s founding ideals and will protect the rights of all persons.  Particularly in African-American communities, we must redouble our efforts as a Nation to swiftly address instances of misconduct.”

The executive order addresses policies and training regarding use–of-force and de-escalation techniques; early warning systems that help to identify officers who may require intervention; and best practices regarding community engagement. A database also will be created to track officers who have been fired, have criminal convictions for on-duty conduct, and/or civil judgments for improper use of force. These are steps to restore confidence and accountability in law enforcement. May the collaborative effort resulting in this executive order be as the verses in Isaiah 32:17-18, “The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” May it be so for all Americans.

 

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Bill Wilson

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