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Biden signs federal policing order 2 years after George Floyd's murder

Hillsborough County's NAACP president said it's important to have more community policing and discussion on concerns from Black communities.

TAMPA, Fla. — Wednesday marked two years since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

A jury would convict Derek Chauvin just less than one year after Floyd's murder.

President Joe Biden signed a new order on policing with Floyd's family in attendance. The order includes the following:

  • Revise use-of-force policies
  • Create a national registry of officers terminated for misconduct
  • Encourage state and city police to restrict chokeholds and no-knock warrants
  • Restrict transfers of military equipment to law enforcement agencies

The order is expected to restrict chokeholds and no-knock warrants at the federal level. It would also restrict the flow of surplus military equipment to local police.

This only applies to federal law enforcement agencies, but local agencies are encouraged to adopt similar policies. 

Hillsborough County's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Yvette Lewis said George Floyd's murder sparked talks long overdue between Black communities and police. 

"It still saddens me that someone had to die in order to get people's attention," Lewis said. "There's still so much more that we can do."

Lewis said she's hopeful about seeing change come out of the order but stresses there still needs to be more discussions about the fear Black communities face when encountering law enforcement. 

On top of more discussions, there is also a need for community policing, quicker response times and more transparency, Lewis said. 

St. Petersburg Police said it understands certain changes needed to be embraced after Floyd's murder. Assistant Chief Mike Kovacsev said it's important for the public to know funding is used to give better service to the public.

"We want to have our officers well trained, well-equipped and make good decisions every day," Kovacsev said.

The department rolled out body-worn cameras in response to community concerns. In addition, it implemented the Community Assistance and Life Liaison program, also known as “CALL." It's designed to bring more social and mental health workers to respond to certain calls rather than the police. 

While some groups called for the city not to increase funding for the department, SPPD states that's due to changes it implemented after Floyd's killing. 

Kovacsev said the department is already implementing some of the federal orders from the president. He also said its policies involving force must be held to a higher standard as a national and state accredited department.

In addition, the department currently doesn't have military equipment transferred over from the Department of Defense, he said. Even if it were to acquire one, Kovacsev said it's only for use in rescue operations, including high water.

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