During its May recessed meeting, the Arlington County Board authorized a public hearing in July to consider an ordinance to establish a program of police oversight comprised of a Law Enforcement Civilian Review Board and Independent Policing Auditor.
Throughout June and July, the Board will consider different models of a Civilian Review Board with the goal of creating a CRB and Independent Policing Auditor function that can enhance community trust in and collaboration with the Arlington County Police Department.
The County Manager has recommended a seven-voting member CRB whose responsibilities include reviewing investigations, policies and disciplinary decisions by Arlington County Police Department and recommending changes to the Chief of Police. The Manager’s recommendation also provides the CRB with subpoena authority. The County Board will also consider alternative models, including one recommended by the Police Practices Work Group (PPG), which would provide the CRB with all the powers proposed by the County Manager and independent investigative authority.
In the coming weeks, the County Board will be studying these models, as well as others from around the Commonwealth and country, and encourages community members to provide their feedback and perspectives on the different models. Opportunities include:
- June 10 (3-6pm): County Board Work Session – Watch the livestream at www.arlingtonva.us or Arlington cable broadcast on Comcast Xfinity 25 or 1085(HD) and Verizon FiOS 39 & 40
- June 22 (6:30pm): County Board Hosts Civilian Review Board Community Engagement Listening Session. Sign up to speak starting June 10 on the County Board website.
- July 17 (9am): County Board Public Hearing on CRB – Sign up to speak starting July 12 on the County Board website.
- Individuals can also submit feedback online.
Interested residents and business leaders can learn more about civilian oversight initiatives, including models being implemented in other communities on a new CRB webpage.
“The County Board is eager to engage with our community regarding appropriate civilian oversight of our police department,” said County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti. “To that end, we will be holding a work session with the relevant Police Practices Group Subcommittee and key stakeholders to better understand how investigatory authority might work and a listening session to hear residents’ thoughts. Both will be held well in advance of the July public hearing as we work to craft a Civilian Review Board that serves the community and builds greater trust with the people who seek to keep us safe.”
Other Proposed Changes
In addition to the CRB public hearing, the County Board will host a separate public hearing at the June meeting to repeal, reenact and recodify Chapter 17 of the Arlington County Code. As part of its report, the Police Practices Group recommended repealing Arlington County Code §17-13(C) (refusal to identify oneself at the request of a police officer). More information is available in the staff report from the May 2021 Board Meeting; scroll to Item No. 32 on the agenda.