President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was finalizing an executive order focused on police reform, representing his first specific comments about changes to law enforcement practices since the national reckoning over police brutality caused by the killing of George Floyd.
“We’re working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for deescalation,” Trump said at a roundtable with law enforcement in Dallas. “Also, we’ll encourage pilot programs that allow social workers to join certain law enforcement officers so that they work together.”
Decrying calls from progressive activists to defund the police and funnel that money to other community programs, Trump said he wanted to increase investment in law enforcement.
“We’re not defunding police. If anything we’re going the other route,” Trump said. “We’re going to make sure our police are well trained, perfectly trained, they have the best equipment.”
The president also announced plans to build “safety and opportunity and dignity” by increasing access to capital for minority-owned small businesses and confronting health care disparities in communities of color.
The United States has been swept by protests since Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis, when a white officer pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes in an episode that onlookers captured on cellphone video.
In the past weeks, Trump has mainly focused his ire on looters in American cities while calling on the military to intervene on the streets. The president has largely ignored the widespread peaceful protests demanding an end to police brutality.