It’s been weeks since George Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer, and since that time protesters have come out in force across the country, with some in their midst turning to violence and rioting. President Trump has presented himself as a law and order man, but now he’s responding to the growing calls for defunding police departments.
Instead, he wants to make them better, possibly increasing their funding.
While Democrats and Republicans in Congress are busy developing legislation on the topic, White House officials announced the president will sign an order encouraging police departments to employ the latest standards for use of force, improving information sharing so that officers with poor records are not hired without their backgrounds being known, and adding social workers to law enforcement responses to non-violent cases involving drug addiction and homelessness.
Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview on Fox News:
“The president is going to take this action to assure the American people that we’re listening. We’re supporting law enforcement. We’re not going to defund the police. Quite the contrary, we’re going to fund new resources to help departments obtain certifications to improve standards for the use of force, improved training on de-escalation. And that’s exactly what the American people want us to do.”
Well, some of the people. While the majority of Americans don’t support defunding police departments, there’s a healthy debate on setting legal limits on use of force as well as reducing or removing the qualified immunity enjoyed by police officers.
Trump’s actions can help, but they won’t go far enough for many people.