by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senate Republicans are already taking aim at a police reform executive order that President Joe Biden is expected to sign in the coming days, warning that the order would effectively defund state and local police departments.
Seven GOP senators, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, signed a letter to Biden on Friday that raised a series of concerns about the restrictions outlined in a leaked draft of the order.
“These hard-left policies are extremely ill-advised, dangerous to Americans, and would only further demoralize law enforcement,” the senators wrote. “We are baffled as to why this Administration would want to implement this EO, which is tantamount to defunding the police.”
Among the objections raised by the Republicans was a ban on common equipment used by local law enforcement officers that, according to the draft of the order, contributes to the “militarization” of police forces.
If implemented as written, the order would prevent police departments from purchasing flash or stun grenades, which are nonlethal tools used by law enforcement to disorient suspects in dangerous situations. The order also bans armored cars, which police use to navigate in active shooting situations, almost all drones, and long-range acoustic devices.
The group of Republicans also took issue with the draft order’s enforcement structure of denying local police departments access to money from the Community Oriented Policing Services grant program and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant program if police departments don’t comply with many of the order’s provisions.
Those would include “supporting alternatives to arrest and incarceration” and implementing diversity recruiting and training programs.
The news of Biden’s expected implementation of the order, which could reportedly be as soon as next week, comes as Biden has faced growing pressure from activists to pursue liberal policies in the absence of legislative action.