Frequently I see stories on Facebook about federal, state, and local law enforcement executing a search warrant for minor drug possession or other seemingly minor matter by raiding a home in early morning hours, essentially using "no-knock" methods with flash-bang explosives and terrorizing innocent men, women, and children, sometimes resulting in deaths of inhabitants of the home, with minor if any charges resulting from the search. I see other stories about police forces acquiring military-style vehicles and weapons with little if any justification for such firepower. Perhaps we need a citizen oversight panel with inspector general authority to review excessive use of force in Fairfax County to ensure police powers are not being abused. What are your views?
Edwin Roessler, Jr.
As your Chief of Police I must ensure you we are accountable to our community. The County Executive has a process in place where the County Audit Office provides a review of use of force issues to include investigations. Every use of force, from non-lethal to lethal is reviewed. All police involved shootings are criminally investigated under the direct review of the Commonwealth's Attorney who is an elected official. Additionally, after the conclusion of the criminal investigation, the Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau conducts an administrative investigation. Your Police Department continually updates training to reflect best practices to prevent misapplication of use of force.
All of our equipment use such as hostage rescue vehicles and/or special weapons are subjected to strict policy use and several levels of supervisors and commanders must approve deployments and decision making.
Lastly, ethics, integrity, and truthfulness are paramount to your trust in your Police Department. Violations of such by employees shall result in termination of employment. I take seriously the abuse of the authority given to us by the community. I will uphold that trust and ensure abuse by officers does not happen. Together we are partners in making this County the best.