Police groups divided over Biden’s executive order on law enforcement reform

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Major law enforcement organizations across the United States are weighing in on President Biden’s new executive order on police reform, with some saying it’s a step in the right direction and others fearing it will. is only a “political theater” that will demoralize and endanger the police.

Biden signed the “Executive Order on Promoting Effective and Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Safety” on Wednesday afternoon on the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer. Minneapolis.

The executive order “is a measure of what we can do to heal the very soul of this nation,” Biden said.

The executive order comes as crime rates soar across the country and a record number of police officers have been shot in the line of duty. Officers say morale is low in their departments and they are struggling to hire. It also comes several months later police reform bill stalled in Senate due to disagreements between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

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Senior administration officials told Fox News the action will target a wide range of reforms, including: directing the attorney general to establish a national law enforcement accountability database, banning the use of carotid chokeholds and restraints unless deadly force is authorized, restricting the use of no-knock entries, strengthening habit and practice investigations, and limiting the transfer of vehicles and equipment soldiers to the police.

President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 13, 2022, during an event to highlight state and local leaders investing US bailout funding.  Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, and Kansas City, Mo., Police Department Chief Joe Mabin listen.
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President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 13, 2022, during an event to highlight state and local leaders investing US bailout funding. Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, and Kansas City, Mo., Police Department Chief Joe Mabin listen.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The National Sheriffs Association (NSA) told Fox News Digital that the organization was not consulted by the Biden administration in crafting the action.

NSA Chairman Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said: “There are potentially elements of this order that make sense and could be beneficial to all law enforcement. However, sheriffs are disappointed that the president has chosen opacity rather than transparency in the drafting of this order.”

“By choosing not to listen to elected law enforcement, the President failed to hear the rest of the country. Unfortunately, [he] handpicked who he and his staff would share the actual verbiage with and who they would take feedback from. Law enforcement operates in every county in America, not just in cities on the east and west coasts.”

“This process leads us to believe that the President had preconceived ideas about our opinions and perspectives. Importantly, elected sheriffs represent and protect 300,000,000 citizens, operate 90% of the nation’s prisons, protect more 90% of courthouses and operate 90% of the 911 systems in the nation. This effort can only be seen as biased against the nation’s 3,086 sheriffs,” Stanforth continued.

Additionally, the National Police Association (NPA) called Biden’s action “political theater,” which could endanger the lives of police officers and the public.

Spokesperson Sergeant Betsy Branter Smith told Fox News Digital that restrictions on transfers of military equipment are an area in which, in the name of public safety, can endanger the lives of police officers and the public. »

“If the president wants to hinder law enforcement’s ability to obtain these rescue vehicles, it is personally incumbent upon him to provide a substitute that will be equally effective in protecting police and the public,” Smith said.

Smith told Fox News Digital: ‘The death of George Floyd was tragic, our justice system treated those involved harshly, and now is not the time to tell the public that American law enforcement is ” systematically racist” and must be further limited in our methods to stop the criminal activity that continues to plague our nation. It would be very helpful if the President declared a war on crime so that criminals would know again that the President does not not protect them.

Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) told Fox News Digital, “This executive order is a political response to demands from activists. If the administration is serious about helping law enforcement improve their training and To continue to raise professional standards, it can be done, but it requires working with law enforcement officials and the various labor organizations that represent law enforcement officers.

“I sincerely hope the administration will recognize that, while politically expedient, unwarranted restrictions on law enforcement have had and will have a deleterious effect on public safety.”

However, other law enforcement groups who have been more involved behind the scenes in crafting the executive order are optimistic that it is a step in the right direction.

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The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) told Fox News Digital that they had engaged in “extensive discussions” with the Biden administration to craft the executive order, saying it “marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to build public confidence in the police and the criminal justice system.”

Police cars in a queue.

Police cars in a queue.
(Frankysze via Getty Images)

“During our discussions, the IACP and FOP remained focused on communicating the challenges facing the policing profession and that our profession is made up of dedicated individuals who are committed to preserving human life, to maintain the highest ethical standards and to treat all individuals with dignity and respect, while holding themselves and others accountable for their actions,” the groups said.

The organizations view the order as a “blueprint” for further congressional action and said they remain “true to our commitment to work with all interested parties who are willing to take an evidence-based approach to put implement effective and lasting change to build a more secure future for our communities and the men and women peacemakers who serve them.”

“A broader approach to global systemic issues must be a priority for all elected officials and, just as our organizations have done from the beginning, stand ready to work together to make our entire criminal justice system fairer. and fairer for all,” the IACP and FOP said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

United States Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice January 5, 2022 in Washington, DC.  Garland addressed the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.

United States Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice January 5, 2022 in Washington, DC. Garland addressed the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.
(Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)

The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) also said the administration “consulted extensively” with the MCCA in crafting the executive order, but cautioned that executive action “instead” of executive action Congress is “not a lasting way” to bring about change.

“Establishing effective and meaningful reform without compromising the ability of law enforcement to keep our communities safe is exceptionally complex. Therefore, as this executive order moves into the implementation phase, the administration must continue to collaborate with law enforcement actors like the MCCA It is essential to ensure that implementation does not result in unfunded warrants or infringe on officers’ privacy, due process or to other important protections,” the group said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“The MCCA has always maintained that executive action instead of congressional action is not a sustainable means to achieve and institute change. Therefore, while today’s Executive Order Today is an important first step, the MCCA encourages Congress to come together to craft and pass bipartisan legislation that promotes transparency and accountability while supporting the brave officers who protect and serve our communities.”

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association President Larry Cosme said the action “will usher in a new era for federal law enforcement.”

The organization, which played an “integral” role in the development of the executive order, says the executive order “strikes the right balance between understanding the public need for accountability and understanding the needs of law enforcement to ensure the safety and protection of all communities”.

Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memo to law enforcement on Friday notifying them that the federal government has updated its use-of-force policies for the first time in nearly two decades.

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“It is the policy of the Department of Justice to value and preserve human life. Officers may use only objectively reasonable force to effectively gain control of an incident, while protecting the officer’s safety and others,” said the memo saysciting a 1989 Supreme Court decision that established the standards for police use of force.

Fox News’ David Spunt, Lucas Tomlinson and Paul Best contributed to this report.

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