Less than one year ago, the Police Ad Hoc Commission delivered 202 recommendations to the Board of Supervisors to consider. Many of those recommendations are in progress, and many have already been achieved.
One of the more visible and important recommendations was creating an independent auditor position. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Office of the Independent Police Auditor. This position has a broad mandate and will report directly to the Board of Supervisors.
The position will have many responsibilities and roles, but as a sampling, here are 5 key ways the auditor will work to enhance trust between our community and police:
1.) Monitor and review internal investigations of Fairfax County Police Department officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and use of force cases in which an individual is killed or seriously injured.
2.) Request further investigation if the auditor determines that an internal investigation was deficient or conclusions were not supported by the evidence.
3.) Issue a public report for each reviewed internal investigation.
4.) Review all resident complaint investigations of alleged excessive or unnecessary force by officers.
5.) Produce annual reports analyzing trends and recommending improvements.
The police auditor is part of the broader set of changes to the department, which have also included:
- Established Diversion First.
- Re-engineered how our police are trained with a focus on de-escalation and the sanctity of life.
- Reorganized the public affairs team and hired a full-time civilian director.
- Established a policy to release the names of officers involved in critical incidents within 10 days and provide updates on these incidents at least every 30 days.
- Collected and published key data on police interactions including uses of force and officer-involved shootings.
- And now established the Office of the Independent Police Auditor.
Creating an independent civilian review panel will be discussed at the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee on Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. in Rooms 9/10 at the Fairfax County Government Center.