Officer-Involved Shooting Summary
Message from Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Police, Fairfax County, Virginia
Each Fairfax County police officer has taken an oath of office to protect and serve our community and each officer is held to the highest of standards to protect the sanctity of life, human rights, and to uphold the law. The Fairfax County Police Department's General Orders, rules, regulations, policies, and standards require that any deployment of deadly force shall be reasonably necessary when all other forms of de-escalation options are not effective or viable for the specific situation. The Police Department responds to an average of over 400,000 calls for service each year. Unfortunately, there are times where force options are required to protect and serve our community and one of these force options is the deployment of deadly force. Your Police Department will continue to maintain the highest levels of hiring standards, recruit training, in-service training, crisis management and intervention training, best-practice policies, wellness support to our employees, and increasing positive engagement with all in the community.
When an officer deploys deadly force, they are relieved of duty while two parallel investigations are conducted. Detectives from the Department's Criminal Investigations Bureau will respond to the event along with other investigative support personnel to conduct a criminal investigation for the Office of the Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney. Additionally, detectives from the Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau will respond to the event to start the Department's administrative internal investigation which is focused on whether or not the involved officer's deployment of deadly force was reasonably necessary in accordance with policies, training, rules, and regulations. The Internal Affairs Bureau also investigates all the operational and administrative actions of all involved in the event to determine compliance with our policies, training, rules, and regulations; and to assess whether or not revisions to policies, training, rules, and regulations are needed to increase our goal of protecting the sanctity of life for all.
We have made the information available on this page to build trust and to create constructive dialogue with the community to increase the understanding of the investigation of officer-involved shootings. Additionally, through many formal and informal processes, we desire to increase engagement with the community and our profession to constantly seek input to enhance our practices, especially those related to the deployment of deadly force.
On this page you will find officer-involved shooting summary tables for the last ten years with interactive links to information, maps, a flow chart of investigative processes, and demographic data. The Police Department will continue to provide updates to this web page as it becomes available.
Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Colonel
Chief of Police
Why we share officer-involved shooting information:
Providing information regarding the Fairfax County Police Department’s officer-involved shootings will help the community understand what officers encounter and the criminal and administrative investigative processes related to these events. Engagement with our community is critical toward receiving valuable input to constantly review our policies and practices for all levels of use of force.
The Fairfax County Police Department and our County
The Fairfax County Police Department has an authorized strength of 1,372 sworn law enforcement officer positions that protect and serve the communities of the County. On average, officers respond to over 400,000 calls for service each year while serving the community.
To learn more about the Fairfax County Police Department, please review our annual reports.
To learn more about the population and demographics of Fairfax County, please visit Fairfax County Population and Demographic Overview.
What is an officer-involved shooting?
An officer-involved shooting is the discharge of a firearm, at a person,
or at an occupied vehicle, whether intentional or unintentional, while in
the performance of their duties as a law enforcement officer. For the
purposes of this posting, an officer-involved shooting will only refer to
the instances in which an officer discharged a firearm at a person, or at
a vehicle occupied by a person or persons, and not officer actions in
To learn more about the Fairfax County Police Department General Order governing use of force, please review General Order 540.1, Use of Force. (Recent Policy Update)
What happens when deadly force is deployed?
It is the policy and commitment of your Police Department that our officers hold the highest regard for the sanctity of human life, liberty and dignity. The application of deadly force is to be deployed only when reasonably necessary and when all lesser means of force options were not effective or could not reasonably be used under the circumstances.
Unfortunately, as a part of their duties and responsibilities, officers may encounter life-threatening situations, resulting in the decision to use deadly force. Once deadly forced is deployed, the circumstances of the use of deadly force and the officers’ actions undergo thorough, unbiased, and parallel criminal and administrative investigations.
Criminal investigations are conducted by detectives from the Criminal Investigations Bureau. The purpose of the criminal investigation is to determine if any criminal laws were violated by the involved officer(s), as well as all other individuals involved in the incident. Upon completion of the criminal investigation, all cases involving an officer's deployment of deadly force are forwarded to the Office of the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney for a determination of criminal liability on all individuals involved in the incident. The Commonwealth’s Attorney serves independently from the Fairfax County government and the Fairfax County Police Department.
Administrative investigations are conducted by detectives from the Internal Affairs Bureau. The purpose of the administrative investigation is to determine if any internal policies, procedures, training, and/or regulations were violated by not just the officer(s) involved in the use of deadly force, but all officers involved with the incident. When deadly force is used, the officer(s) who deployed the deadly force is immediately relieved of law enforcement duties by the Internal Affairs Bureau, pending the outcome of the investigation. All evidence gathered during the criminal investigation is provided to the detectives conducting the administrative investigation. Once the Internal Affairs Bureau has concluded its internal administrative investigation, the administrative investigation case file is provided to the involved officer’s division commander to begin the command review process.
To view the general flow of both the criminal and administrative investigative processes, please click here
To learn more about the investigative procedures of deadly force deployment, please review Standard Operating Procedure 12-045: Investigation of Deadly Force Deployment.
What kind of training and accreditation do we have?
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services requires a minimum of 480 hours of academy training and 100 hours of field training instruction to be certified as a law enforcement officer. Fairfax County law enforcement recruits who attend the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy receive 950 hours of academy training and 480 hours of field training instruction, which exceeds the minimum training mandates established by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. In addition, to maintain their law enforcement certification, our officers must complete a minimum of 40 hours of in-service retraining every two years.
The Police Department is currently accredited by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. We are currently in the self-assessment phase in preparation for an on-site assessment required to obtain national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
To view the Police Department’s press release on accreditation, please click here.
Officer-Involved Shooting summaries:
2005 - Present
The table below provides additional information regarding the Fairfax County Police Department’s officer-involved shootings from 2005 to Present. Summaries of any future officer-involved shootings will be posted as the information becomes available.
In order to view the data, please follow these steps:
- To view detailed information on all officer-involved shootings for a specific year, please click on the year at the top of the table.
- To view a detailed map representing the locations for each officer-involved shooting for a specific year, please click on the number in the Total row which corresponds to that year.
To learn more on the race of the individuals involved, please view Breakdown by Race of Subject. The Police Department records race as it is defined by the Virginia State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Incident-Based Procedure Guide Manual.
To learn more on officer’s years of service and assignment, please click here.