President Biden's executive order aimed at preventing and punishing police misconduct fell well short of the sweeping reform legislation the White House had hoped would be law by now, reports the Washington Post. The order authorizes the formation of a national accreditation system for police departments, and it will create a national database of federal officers who have disciplinary records or face substantiated misconduct complaints. Federal law enforcement agencies will update use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation. “It’s a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation, to address profound fear and trauma — exhaustion — that particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations,” Biden said. “And to channel that private pain and public outrage into a rare mark of progress for years to come.”Pol ice officials in the Washington, D.C., area say they have already implemented most of the reforms ordered by Biden federally, though some community activists say the pace of change hasn’t been fast enough, the Post reports.
Leaders of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), said the Biden reforms were largely based on changes already enacted at the local level. They said Biden’s 21-point order should create a national policing standard for departments that aren’t already restricting chokeholds and no-knock warrants, limiting use of force and training their officers in avoiding biased policing. The order was the result of a process that began in earnest after the collapse last September of congressional efforts to pass a bipartisan bill. Wednesday’s version reflected a careful balance. It noted that “the vast majority of law enforcement officers do these difficult jobs with honor and integrity,” while adding that “fatal encounters have disparately impacted Black and Brown people and other people of color.” Biden said he would have signed the executive order sooner but was worried that it would derail negotiations in the Senate. “Our Republican colleagues opposed any meaningful reform,” he said. The executive order authorizes the Justice Department to use federal grant funding to encourage local police to further restrict the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants, steps that federal law enforcement agencies have already taken.