How the Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities impacts grant funding

Certification of adherence to two minimum standards is a prerequisite for eligibility for DOJ discretionary grant funding


What it is: On June 16, 2020, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13929, generally known as the “Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities.” The EO calls for the establishment of independent credentialing bodies to constantly accelerate assessments of state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure transparency and safe and accountable law enforcement services. 

Why is it important: The assessments are intended to generate enhanced confidence in law enforcement practices and facilitate more timely identification and correction of internal agency deficiencies. The EO applies to state, local and university or college police agencies, but not tribal law enforcement agencies, and to both paid and volunteer/reserve law enforcement personnel.  

The EO establishes two minimum standards for certification that must be considered by the credentialing bodies. The minimum standards include:

  1. Confirmation that the use of force policies adhere to all applicable federal, state, and local laws;
  2. That the policies prohibit the use of chokeholds…except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.

Certification of adherence to the two minimum standards is a prerequisite for eligibility for DOJ discretionary grant funding. 

Agencies will be required to be certified or affirm that they are in the process of gaining certification at the time of the DOJ grant application to be eligible for DOJ discretionary grant funding. Certifications will be valid for three years from the date of issue. 

How to comply: A state-by-state list of independent credentialing bodies can be found at https://cops.usdoj.gov/SafePolicingEO. Contact those bodies directly for guidance on how to obtain certification. The credentialing body will send a list of certified agencies to the Department of Justice by January 31, 2021. This will be the list of all eligible law enforcement agencies.

In states where there exists a state accreditation program, that program will serve as the primary credentialing body. In states without an existing accreditation program, the state POST will be responsible for certifying agencies.

Agencies that have current active accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) or the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) may request certification and potentially receive certification based upon existing accreditation if the required two minimum standards in the EO are addressed.

Agencies in areas where there is not an independent credentialing body available should contact the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST)

What departments need to do: Any law enforcement agency subject to the minimum standards in the EO that plans to apply for DOJ discretionary grant funding in FY2021 for itself or through a sub-award should take several steps to ensure eligibility for the grant funding. Even if an agency is not on the list of certified agencies by January 31, 2021, they are still eligible to apply for FY2021 grant funds; however, the applicant must affirm that they are in the process of becoming certified, which means the LEA has already contacted the credentialing body. A law enforcement agency should follow the steps below:

  1. Immediately review use of force policies to determine if they meet the minimum certification standards set forth in the EO.
  2. Contact the appropriate credentialing body to ensure that the agency complies with the specific certification requirements of the body or to begin the certification process to comply, which can be tailored by a credentialing body to include additional standards.   
  3. Establish an appropriate process to track, gather and ultimately submit investigative data related to situations involving excessive uses of force.

The full text of Executive Order 13929 is available here.

For additional information, see https://cops.usdoj.gov/SafePolicingEO.

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