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Trump's policing order a start, but lacks key components on race relations and implicit bias training, local experts say

Posted at 11:27 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 07:29:06-04

CLEVELAND — President Donald Trump unveiled his executive order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities on June 16, in response to the Minneapolis police-involved death of George Floyd, and the ensuing civil unrest calling for changes in police protocol across the county.

The President's national police reform plan calls for a ban on choke holds, except when an officer feels their life may be in danger. It also would provide federal grants for police departments which show improvements in policing standards, and provide more police training and funding to departments in dealing with those suffering from addiction, homelessness or mental issues.

Professor Patrick Oliver, Director of the Criminal Justice Program at Cedarville University, and a former Cleveland Police Chief, reacted favorably to the President's national police reform plan, and told News 5 a key component is the creation of a national database to track officers fired, de-certified or convicted of using excessive force.

“I think national data base is good, and that national data base should include information on officers who have been terminated from their agency," Oliver said.

"So you can’t get fired from a department and go out-of-state and join another."

“The use of mental health professionals is a good move, and the use of social workers will help law enforcement.”

“I think the executive order today by the President is encouragement for local law enforcement agencies to achieve higher standards.”

But Ronnie Dunn, associate professor with the Cleveland State University Department of Urban Studies, and Chief Diversity Officer, said the President's policing plan lacks the key components needed to truly address the issues between police and the African American community.

“It says nothing on race, even when it speaks of training," Dunn said.

"It doesn’t call for racial bias or implicit bias training. And we know that is the central problem," he said.

“There’s also nothing on national standards on deadly use of force.”

“There’s nothing there regarding racial profiling, and as we know this is the most persistent problem we’ve been having with police and the African American Community.”

President Trump is calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to complete a report in the next 90 days to determine how to best fund increased police training nationwide.

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