Bloomberg Law’s® extensive network of reporters and editors helps subscribers to stay ahead of legal
President Donald J. Trump signed on Feb. 9 three executive orders aiming to crack down on “transnational criminal organizations"—such as drug cartels and other traffickers—and curb crime against police officers, according to press briefing materials from Whitehouse.gov.
While a policy analyst at a libertarian think tank said the content of the orders suggests more “empty promises” and inaction, a senior adviser at a law enforcement interest group said the orders offer symbolic support that is exactly what law enforcement officers need during a time of low morale.
The fact that the administration seems to be emphasizing protection against violent crime, rather than terrorism, signals a pivotal shift for conversations on public safety, but one that’s based on faulty information, said Arthur Rizer, justice policy director and a senior fellow at the R Street Institute.
But Jim Pasco, senior adviser to the Fraternal Order of Police’s president, said, “The most valuable thing [Trump] can do as a person that people look to for leadership is to use the bully pulpit to show solidarity and support with police.”
The orders included the following:
The three executive orders don’t state any kind of independent action by the White House, but state priorities and ask for other government officials to act, Rizer explained.
“I think what [Trump is] trying to do is shore up his campaign promises that were based on fiction and because they were based on fiction, there’s nothing to do about it except release these things,” Rizer told Bloomberg BNA. “They’re just goals.”
What Rizer said he found more significant was the speech from newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who seemed to prioritize violent crime over terrorism. That’s the first time an attorney general has made that distinction since 2001, he said.
But the emphasis on violent crime is based on cherry-picked statistics and information, he said.
For example, oft-quoted statistics showing that violent crime is on the rise in major cities tend to leave out the information that most of those incidents primarily happen in two Chicago neighborhoods, Rizer said. But when looking at the big picture, violent crime has consistently decreased over the past decade, he said.
“Sure, the percentage rises—if you view it in a vacuum,” Rizer said. “I think that’s lazy and wrong.”
The reason for the administration’s emphasis is because it sells to their base voters, Rizer said. Trump hasn’t stopped campaigning on a “law and order” platform that focuses on tougher prosecutions and fear mongering regarding immigrants and violent crime, he added.
“There’s a push to force this new ideology that immigrants are going to rape your women and steal your children and there’s no real empirical evidence to back it up,” Rizer said.
Statutorily speaking, Pasco said FOP knows the president can’t do much to affect law enforcement officers and their low morale. But the executive order regarding a crackdown on violence against police offers encouragement to overworked officers.
Police forces are suffering from severe attrition rates due to overexposure of police violence in the media and an increase of violence against officers in response to those incidents, Pasco said. That doesn’t just impact low enrollment of new recruits, but also creates an unusually high retirement rate, he explained.
In the past, about 20 percent of officers eligible for retirement actually retired, Pasco said. But that figure has increased to almost 100 percent, he added. In Baltimore alone, Pasco said almost every single one of the 600 officers eligible for retirement last year stepped down off the force.
The reaction from members has been overwhelmingly positive, Pasco said.
“There needs to be an understanding that police officers are there to protect the people,” he said. “If police officers aren’t safe, no one is safe.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica DaSilva in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)