Federal police reform executive order takes effect July 18

President Biden’s directive calls for increased limits on excessive force, mandates bodycam policies and creates police misconduct database.
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 7:23 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Federal law enforcement agencies will soon be held to a higher standard.

President Biden signed the Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety on Wednesday. Biden signed the executive order two years to the day after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd. The order is aimed at reforming federal police agencies and could also change how law enforcement agencies across the UP operate.

The executive order goes into effect July 19. It outlines when officers should not use excessive or deadly force and urges them to take action if they see another officer doing so. The order emphasizes that officers should prioritize de-escalation techniques whenever possible.

“The guideline is, what is objectively reasonable,” Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt said. “What would a reasonable officer do in a given situation? We really emphasize this and it requires de-escalation.”

The executive order creates a national database of police misconduct, which federal law enforcement agencies are required to use when screening candidates. The executive order also encourages state and local departments to use it. Sheriff Zyburt explained the basics of how this database works.

“When an officer leaves you have to put all of their disciplinary actions down in this database,” Zyburt said. “You cannot hide anything.”

The executive order includes a mandate that federal agencies implement bodycam policies to record arrests, searches and serious injury or death to a suspect in custody. The order adds that federal law enforcement agencies must make these policies publicly available to read. Sheriff Zyburt said police departments like Chocolay Township already have a similar policy.

“When I was with Chocolay Township Police Department they were one of the first in the state of Michigan to implement a bodycam policy, and that was probably 15 years ago,” Sheriff Zyburt said.

The Marquette Police Department is an accredited agency. MPD Chief Ryan Grim said it already has policies against excessive force, for bodycams and more.

“Being accredited, everything that was brought up in the executive order is already being done at the Marquette Police Department,” Chief Grim said. “A lot of local agencies are already following these orders.”

Only time will tell how effective this executive order is in achieving its intended purpose. Chief Grim said all MPD officers will continue to best serve the Marquette community by following best law enforcement practices at all times.

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