EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Police EO Directs AG Bill Barr To Block $1.5 Billion In Federal Grants To Departments That Don’t Comply With New Reforms
President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on police reform Tuesday that directs Attorney General Bill Barr to block police departments that fail to comply with two of the three core components of the order from receiving any of the Justice Department’s discretionary law enforcement grants, senior White House officials told the Daily Caller.
The administration briefed reporters on the broad contents of Tuesday’s EO on Monday evening, which officials said in no way defunds police departments while stopping short of explaining exactly how the components will be enforced. Senior officials later gave the Daily Caller a more detailed understanding of the financial enforcement mechanism. (RELATED: Trump’s Police Reform Executive Order Has 3 Main Components, Senior Administration Officials Say)
The three components of the order are as follows:
- Creating credentialing and certification programs in every police department across the nation
- Information sharing — create a national database that can track officers with excessive use of force complaints so they can’t skip from department to department
- Incentivize co-responder programs — have mental health experts accompany officers on responses to non-violent calls involving homelessness, addiction, and other mental health issues
Once Trump signs the order, Barr will directly tie the first two components to discretionary grants awarded by the DOJ’s Office of Justice (OJP). Trump’s FY21 budget requested more than $1.511 billion for OJP’s state, local, and tribal law enforcement grants, with $411.7 million alone going to the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) Program.
First, the order dictates Barr certify independent organizations to credential police departments’ professional standards. Credentialing will include use-of-force standards, deescalation technique training, early warning systems for departments to identify personnel issues, community engagement practices and more. Any department that wants to be considered for a federal grant must either be fully credentialed or seeking credentials for the aforementioned programs.
Additionally, departments will only be awarded grants if they report into a new system that captures and shares cases where officers are accused of using excessive force. The order states that Barr and DOJ will be responsible for implementing and maintaining this database with the stated goal of preventing officers who violate use-of-force standards “don’t just leave one job and go to another jurisdiction.”
Furthermore, in regard to the third component of the order, Barr will work with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to rapidly implement co-responder programs. Azar is ordered to submit a report within 90 days with recommendations on how departments may pair social workers with responding officers on non-violent calls involving certain mental health issues, though departments do not appear to be required to implement co-responder programs to receive federal grants.
Senate Republicans, led by South Carolina’s Tim Scott, are preparing their own legislation that would codify some of the programs outlined in the president’s order, including use-of-force standards for chokeholds and the national excessive force database.
The president is set to sign the EO during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden at 12:00 pm ET.
“The overall goal is we want law and order, but it’s about justice also. It’s about safety,” the president told reporters Monday. “We’re going to make sure that our police are well trained — perfectly trained.”
DOJ and HHS did not immediately return Daily Caller’s requests for comment Tuesday morning on the timelines dictated by Trump’s order.