PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ President Donald Trump took his first step toward addressing the nationwide protests against police brutality Tuesday afternoon, signing an executive order that encourages better police practices.
Rather than outlawing police tactics, Trump’s order uses federal funding to encourage the best practices and behavior of officers across the country. It also creates a nationwide database to keep track of officers who have a history of excessive use-of-force complaints.
“We will have reform without undermining our many great and extremely talented law enforcement officers,” Trump said.
Trump was flanked by law enforcement officials while signing the executive order, including Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.
“Exactly what we’re looking for. More understanding around culture, more understanding about community involvement with local law enforcement,” Hodgson said of the order.
While Hodgson applauded Trump’s order, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) Managing Director Kiah Bryant argues that his police reform plan isn’t enough. She said police departments need to be completely defunded.
“We need to change the culture, we need to actually get rid of police, less policing in these cities and in our communities because they’re not helping us,” Bryant said.
Bryant called Trump’s executive order “ridiculous,” but said she “didn’t expect anything less.”
“[Trump’s] not really addressing the issues, he’s glossing over them, and saying ‘Here we’re going to give you this one thing…like me. Say positive things about me, congratulate me,'” she said.
Trump framed his executive order as an alternative to defunding the police, adding that “reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals.”
“Americans know the truth: Without police there is chaos. Without law there is anarchy and without safety there is catastrophe,” he said.
Both Senate Democrats and Republicans are currently working on advancing two competing police reform bills.