The Biden White House is struggling to reshape an executive order on police accountability three months after a leaked draft drew sharp opposition from law enforcement. Police organizations remain in talks with Biden’s domestic policy adviser, Susan Rice. Nearly two years after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others prompted nationwide protests and demands for change, the White House has offered no timeline for the order or its contents. The parties have reached agreement on some key issues, including creating national standards for the accreditation of police departments and a decertification registry of officers who commit violations, said Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police. Those changes are aimed at setting policing standards across the U.S. and limiting the ability of bad officers to get new jobs elsewhere.
The most contentious questions remain unresolved — such as whether the White House would call for stricter use-of-force standards or changes to qualified legal immunity for officers, which protects them being sued over alleged misconduct. Law enforcement officials have opposed efforts to make federal grant funding for local police departments contingent on those departments adopting specified reforms. The slow-moving process — more than six months after President Biden promised executive action — comes as the White House seeks to signal support for police amid a two-year surge in gun violence and homicides, but also to reassure critics of policing that Biden wants to improve training and root out misconduct. Facing criticism from Republicans on public safety, Biden proposed $30 billion in new law enforcement funding in his fiscal 2023 budget request, after a State of the Union address in which he pointedly reaffirmed his rejection of the “defund the police” movement. "This felt more like the Joe Biden we’ve known for 25 years,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. Biden’s stance has alarmed civil rights leaders, who fear that the administration’s urgency around police reform is fading as the midterm elections approach.