How to Talk About the Executive Orders on Policing


Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

A central goal of any community is the safety and security of its members. Police can play an important role in achieving this goal when they work within the community with mutual trust and respect, and strive for positive community relationships.

Image of a man breaking free from a cell with information about the Transforming the System site

However, on Feb. 9, Trump issued three Executive Orders that pose grave threats to our communities and our values. These Executive Orders give law enforcement agencies special treatment and make them less accountable to the communities they serve. The first Executive Order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to give law enforcement officers special treatment in prosecutions and to consider whether additional harsh legislation is needed. The second Executive Order establishes a task force charged with making broad-reaching criminal justice recommendations around violent crime, and the final Executive Order gives law enforcement broad discretion to coordinate and prosecute an array of charges from immigration fraud to trafficking.

These Executive Orders are a threat to public safety, which is improved when the relationship between law enforcement agencies is not corrupted by mistrust and lack of accountability.

These Executive Orders are a threat to public safety, which is improved when the relationship between law enforcement agencies is not corrupted by mistrust and lack of accountability. They may be misconstrued by law enforcement agents as giving them additional authority to be aggressive with protestors, to ratchet up the local enforcement of immigration matters, and to profile certain communities in the name of preventing international crime. These Executive Orders undermine the relationship between law enforcement agencies and communities at a time when most Americans believe that the policing of communities of color is unfair.

As we organize to counter, undo, and prevent further damage, strategic messaging is more important than ever. We have several tools on talking about policing and criminal justice issues that can serve as an important resource:

Check out our resources.

Values to Uplift

  • Equal Justice
  • Fairness
  • Community
  • Safety