LPD, ACLU discuss President Trump’s Executive Order on police reform

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 6:12 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - President Trump’s recent Executive Order is implementing new measures to increase safety for police and civilians during their encounters.

Sgt. Elijah Garcia, public information officer at the Lawton Police Department, said LPD’s protocols already are very similar, if not the same as the EO. Sgt. Garcia said the new policies will only help the department progress in serving the community.

“The whole Executive Order, we’re looking at it as an opportunity for us as a department to be able to receive even more funding so that we can have the best possible trained officers for the Lawton Fort Sill community,” said Sgt. Garcia.

A couple of the new measures listed in the EO include sharing information between police departments about officers with credible abuse and also banning chokeholds unless an officer’s life is at risk. The latter is a policy already implemented by LPD.

“Since 2005, we have already had a policy in place of no chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized,” said Sgt. Garcia.

The director of policy and advocacy for the ACLU of Oklahoma, Nicole McAfee, said the EO may address several issues of reform, but ultimately it is the responses to policing that could use a revamp.

“Even the grants that would send social workers or mental health professionals with police, still happen with police, whereas folks on the ground are asking for those things to happen separate from police, to remove the escalation threat of the violence by removing officers from that situation,” said McAfee.

Sgt. Garcia countered that the EO can only help the two agencies serve.

“We currently work with mental health providers, and so if this Executive Order would help that, we believe we would be able to benefit from it,” said Sgt. Garcia. “Officers getting to go to more training, like our CIT team, our Crisis Intervention Team, we believe that we would be able to benefit from that, as well.”

Overall, Sgt. Garcia said LPD welcomes resources that can bring positive change.

“Whatever could help us to become the best possible police officers that we could be for our community, we welcome,” said Sgt. Garcia. “So, we’re really excited about this whole thing.”

The EO also prioritizes federal grants from the Department of Justice to police departments for the highest standard of use of force and de-escalation training.

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