Southwest Florida leaders, activists react to Trump’s police reform plan

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Credit: WINK News

The push for police reform is working. Protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death are prompting change, and the Fort Myers Police Department reacted positively to the president’s executive order.

President Donald Trump believes he is taking the right steps to standardize policing, steps that many law enforcement agencies locally have already adopted.

FMPD Deputy Chief Jeffrey Meyers reviewed the executive order after it came out Tuesday.

“From what I’ve read so far, it appears to be very positive. From what I understand, there is some funding in there for departments that use best practices, which we already do,” Meyers said.

Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, said about the executive order that it’s good whenever you have the federal government on board and supportive.

“We think it’s important it gets national attention, but there’s 18,000 police departments, so getting consensus for all those agencies will be important, but putting the federal government behind this is a good thing,” he said.

Meyers and Wexler agree that chokeholds are not necessary unless it’s a life or death situation, and police are always looking for improvements in less-than-lethal weapons systems.

“You try de-escalation techniques through verbal cues; if that doesn’t work and you need to move to a less-lethal device, the more options you have out there at an officer’s disposal is an improvement.”

Will it help policing in Southwest Florida?

“American policing right now has an issue of trust and the challenge right now is rebuilding that trust,” Wexler said.

Meyers said he believes the president’s executive order will benefit his department and the policing community across the area.

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