Arlington Launches Review of Police Policies and Practices

• Fifteen-member citizen group to report back by end of the year

• External assessment of police practices and group review of policy issues

Following recent events involving policing and racial justice across the United States, the County Board has asked the County Manager to lead a review of police policies and practices. This review will ensure that the Arlington County Police Department is current with policing best practices and continue to build trust between our police and the community.

The first step will be an external review and assessment of current policies and practices in six key areas:

• Review of use of Force: De-escalation tactics; lethal and non-lethal force; and, foot and vehicle

• Training and Supervision: Police Academy training; and training for implicit bias and crisis

• Cameras: Both body-worn and vehicle dash cameras; and policies regarding use of this

• Recruitment and Retention: Screening for bias; psychological evaluation; mental health programs; process for officer evaluation; promotion and leadership development programs; and compensation, including pay and

• Internal Affairs: Statistics; structures and procedures; effectiveness through an anonymous climate survey; grievance processes; and use of force

• Data/Statistics: Reviewing data collected for arrests and stops over the past 3 years

This external assessment will begin on July 20, 2020 and be led by two parties: Marcia K. Thompson, Vice President at Hillard Heintze, an attorney and law enforcement practitioner with more than 20 years working in the criminal justice field; and Dr. Julie Shedd, Associate Dean at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University Carter School.

The themes of this assessment will be shared with the 15-member Police Practices Group early in the fall and will support the work of the group moving forward. The PPG will begin meeting in August and will also discuss the following four important policy areas: Police civilian review board – what type and approach? The role of the police department in providing mental health services; The role for the police department in traffic enforcement; and The opportunity for alternative dispute resolution, including restorative justice & mediation.

The Police Practices Group will report to the County Manager by Dec. 21, 2020. The Police Practices Group will hold public engagement sessions to gather community input on these issues. The results will be provided to the County Manager as he hires a new Police Chief after a national search. (Note: Chief Jay Farr will be retiring before the end of this year). The information will also form the basis of potential recommendations for improvements to the County Board.

The Police Practices Group’s first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 3, 2020.

Appointments

Allison Carpenter, Deputy Public Defender, Arlington County and resident. She has worked with community agencies and organizations to reduce recidivism and promote public safety.

Cicely Whitfield, longtime Arlington resident and advocate. Cicely also serves as the Chief Program Officer for Bridges to Independence, focused on leading individuals and families out of homelessness.

David FitzGerald, member of the Community Service Board, responsible for oversight of services provided by the Department of Human Services to persons challenged by mental health, intellectual disabilities and substance use.

Devanshi Patel, local social justice lawyer focused primarily on juvenile and family law matters; Devanshi also is the Chief Executive Officer of CYFA (Center for Youth and Family Advocacy), which focuses on developing comprehensive solutions to social justice issues to improve the lives of young people and families in Arlington.

Elizabeth Jones Valderrama, Executive Director of Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church, a community-based nonprofit which journeys with specific individuals, adults and youth of all genders, impacted by the criminal legal system and also addresses “the systemic racism responsible for mass incarceration and other structural inequities in our society.”

Kathleen McSweeney, active resident and advocate in Arlington County. Previously served on the Planning Commission, serves on the Census Complete Count Committee, and chairs the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee. Kathleen also serves on the Board for Challenging Racism.

Kent Carter, Vice President of the Arlington Branch NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization committed to eliminating race-based discrimination and to ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

Kim Phillip, founding member of Arlington for Justice, a newly formed group working to bring a new era of public safety to our neighborhoods by seeking reform of Arlington’s criminal justice system.

LaTasha Chamberlain, Captain, Arlington County Police Department responsible for support service operations.

Matt Puia, Sergeant, Arlington County Police Department, responsible for police operations.

Naomi Verdugo, longtime advocate and active member of the Arlington Mental Health and Disability Alliance, group of local advocates comprised of community members living with mental illness and other disabilities, and their families.

Rodney Turner, former member of Arlington County’s Fire Station #8 Task Force and current member of the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, is a resident of the High View Park neighborhood for 18 years and a member of the John M. Langston Citizens Association. Rodney is an attorney specializing in financial services regulation.

Saul Reyes, Executive Director of BU-GATA, an advocacy organization founded in 1992 to educate and train Latino leaders in low-income communities facing the threat of displacement. BU-GATA is also interested in addressing racial disparities in policing and other areas of public safety.

Scott Wanek, President of the Arlington Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, representing current and retired Arlington police officers.

Whytni Kernodle, Co-Founder of Black Parents of Arlington, focused on organizing and empowering black parents for the purpose of improving the lives and education of black children in Arlington.

Note: The County Attorney and the Commonwealth’s Attorney will also serve as ex officio members of the group.

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