President Trump displays his signature after signing an executive order creating a commission to study law enforcement and justice at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention on Oct. 28.

President Trump displays his signature after signing an executive order creating a commission to study law enforcement and justice at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention on Oct. 28. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

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Trump Orders Study of Root Causes of Crime, Policing Practices

Attorney General William Barr will lead the new Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

President Trump on Monday ordered Attorney General William Barr to establish a new commission to study crime and law enforcement with the goal of recommending “actions that can be taken to prevent, reduce, and control crime, increase respect for the law, and assist victims.” 

Following remarks in Chicago at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, the president signed an executive order establishing the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The commission will study the influence of substance abuse, homelessness and mental illness on crime as well as examine best practices to recruit, train and support law enforcement, among other things. 

“Rigorous study of crime, including its causal factors, and current law enforcement practices is essential to assessing our current criminal justice system's merits and opportunities for improvement,” the executive order stated. “Public safety and proper policing are issues of both national and local significance that continue to require the close cooperation and coordination between the Department of Justice and state, local, and tribal law enforcement.”

The attorney general will designate a chair and determine the commission’s composition and procedures. Commission members may include federal employees, state, local and tribal government officers, or officials designated on their behalf. 

“Consistent with applicable law and within existing appropriations, the Attorney General shall use the resources and personnel of the Department of Justice in support of the Commission and its activities,” according to the order. 

The commission has a year to provide recommendations to the attorney general, who will submit a final report to the president within 60 days after consulting with the Office of Management and Budget director. 

The creation of the commission aligns with Trump’s law and order agenda. During his Chicago speech, Trump touted his successes on reducing crime and curtailing “the harmful and intrusive use of federal consent decrees.” He also criticized Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson for not attending the event and said the city is “embarrassing to us as a nation” for its crime problems. 

Johnson said it was a “personal choice” to not attend. “It just doesn’t line up with our city’s core values, along with my personal values,” he said on Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported.