Cape Girardeau police chief discusses Pres. Trump signing order on police reform

Trump signs police reform executive order

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS/AP) - Police Chief Wes Blair talked on Tuesday, June 16 about President Trump signing an executive order on police reform.

The chief talked about how this order helps both the community and the police.

“It’s designed to help both sides of the issue; to help the community see, okay the police really do want to take steps and fix some of the issues that they have. And for the police to hopefully have some resources that come from this to do some of the things that need to be done in our communities," Chief Blair said.

He also talked about officers responding with social services.

“That’s something here at the police department have wanted to see happen for a long time, because we’re not mental health professionals,” he said. “But at 3 o’clock in the morning, we’re all there is. So if there is really a national push to really make something like that happen, we certainly welcome it.”

He also talked about the mental health of officers.

“We really take the mental health of our officers very seriously and we have an employee assistance program that they can go to confidentially if they need help,” Chief Blair said. “If we see an issue with an officer, we can mandate that they go to some counseling services or to get some help with that; or if there is a substance abuse or something like that. That’s always something we’ve taken seriously.”

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order that he said would encourage better police practices.

The executive order would establish a database that tracks police officers with excessive use-of-force complaints in their records.

It would also give police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices and encourage co-responder programs, in which social workers join police when they respond to nonviolent calls involving mental health, addiction and homeless issues.

Copyright 2020 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.