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Trump To Sign An Executive Order On Police Reform

NOEL KING, HOST:

President Trump says he will sign an executive order on policing today. He's been under pressure to do something since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. The president said this to reporters yesterday.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We want law and order, and we want it done fairly, justly. We want it done safely, but we want law and order. This is about law and order, but it's about - it's about justice also. And it's about safety.

KING: NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez has talked to senior administration officials about this executive order. Hey, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hello, Noel.

KING: What's in the president's EO?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, it focuses on three areas mainly. It creates a database to track police officers with misconduct complaints against them. Second, it uses federal grants to incentivize departments to meet higher certification standards. That means training for de-escalation techniques and also limiting use of chokeholds, except in the most extreme situations. Third, it calls on departments to involve social workers on some of these calls that deal with things like homelessness, mental illness and other kinds of addiction.

The goal, one official said, is to, quote, "have the discussion the country needs to have so that we can turn the anger in the country into action and hope."

KING: We understand, Franco, or have come to understand that making police who do bad things accountable is a really high hurdle in part because police unions protect them. There's been a lot of reporting on that lately. Does this order address that? Does it take on unions?

ORDOÑEZ: I posed that question, actually, to senior administration officials. They did not address the unions directly. Instead, they told me that there is, though, accountability in the credentialing process. A second senior administration official charged that many police departments, including in Minneapolis, are operating using outdated standards and training materials.

A challenge is that police departments are generally run at the state and local level, which makes widespread changes more difficult to enact. But they argue that they can use these grants, federal grants, to incentivize police to do the right thing. They do acknowledge, though, that they need help from the attorney general and Congress - the attorney general to provide guidance in Congress to provide funding - to have a real impact.

KING: NPR's Franco Ordoñez. Thanks, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.