YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – President Donald Trump signed three executive orders Thursday aimed at strengthening law enforcement, targeting violent crime, and criminal drug cartels. One of the orders, in particular, is on the minds of local law enforcement in the Valley.
Trump received campaign endorsements from several police groups when he promised to take a tougher approach on crime. Thursday, he followed through by signing the new executive orders.
“It’s a shame what’s been happening to our great, truly great, law enforcement officers,” the president said at the signing. “That’s going to stop as of today.”
Trump called the executive orders “so important.” He said the new round of orders is “designed to restore safety in America.”
Trump also directed the Department of Justice to implement a plan to stop crimes against police officers. That’s something local police completely support.
“With this order, I think anybody can agree, whether you have an ‘R’ next to your name or a ‘D’ next to your name, that anytime you’re stiffening or increasing the penalty and prosecution of somebody who commits a crime against the law enforcement, I think it’s a great thing and I couldn’t be happier for that,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.
The third order signed will create new federal crimes and increase penalties for crimes committed against law enforcement officers. However, the order never states exactly what those increased penalties will be.
“We are the thin blue line, protecting our citizens against the criminal element and if President Trump’s actions today can increase and enhance penalties for longer prison terms against those folks that will assault and kill a police officer, personally and professionally, I’m all for it,” said New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were 135 officers killed in 2016 — up 10 percent from the previous year.
“We take that oath to protect and serve our communities and whether we make the ultimate sacrifice, it’s something we’ve accepted. We don’t want it to happen, but we’re here to protect our communities,” D’Egidio said.
Greene said he’s grateful to the president for this executive order for law enforcement.
“Those are the people that protect all of us. They’re the ones that keep the peace. They risk their lives.”