CLU of Virginia recommends reforms to bring constitutional policing to Fairfax County
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia on Wednesday forwarded to the Chair of the Fairfax Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission its recommendations regarding reforms the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) should make to restore civilian authority over and ensure public trust in law enforcement.
“The perception among many Fairfax County community members is that their police department operates by its own rules, and the official wall of silence erected after the shooting of John Geer only served to reinforce this perception,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. “Ensuring public trust in the FCPD will require a shift in the department’s culture and mindset. That’s why today we submitted our recommendations to the Fairfax Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission – recommendations that are based in the concepts and values of constitutional policing and respect for the sanctity of human life. These concepts and values should be in the DNA of all law enforcement personnel, and accountability and transparency should be hallmarks of FCPD operations and community relationships.”
The Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission’s Use of Force Subcommittee will meet tonight, August 12, at7:00 PMat the Fairfax County Government Center (Room 232). The full Commission will meet again onAugust 17, and a public hearing is scheduled for September 14.
Gastañaga said that the ACLU of Virginia is submitting its formal comments now so that they can be considered as the subcommittees are formulating their recommendations to the full Commission.
“While there is no silver bullet to ensuring a safe and effective police force, the adoption of the ACLU of Virginia’s recommendations will provide an important step in restoring the public’s trust in their police department. Adoption of these recommendations will also help make the department a model for what policing in a democratic society should look like.”