Arlington debates the power of a civilian police review board
Under a proposal from Arlington County Director Mark Schwartz, the board would be able to review already completed police investigations, but would not have the power to initiate its own investigations or disciplinary officers .
Arlington County, Virginia may soon have a Civilian Police Review Board, but the community is questioning the committee’s power.
Under a proposal from Arlington County Director Mark Schwartz, the council would be able to review already completed police investigations, but would not have the power to initiate its own investigations or disciplinary officers.
The board would consist of seven voting members who are civilians and two non-voting members with law enforcement backgrounds.
“I think we need the type of review board that reflects our values and our experience here in Arlington,” said Schwartz. “What’s the best solution for Arlington? Reasonable people will differ as to the correct answer.
The Arlington branch of the NAACP criticized the proposal, saying it is too limited.
“All residents of Arlington want to be safe and to ensure that we are using the best policing practices available to keep everyone safe in our community,” said Matt de Ferranti, who chairs the County Board of Directors of ‘Arlington.
The public will have the opportunity to speak out at a public hearing scheduled for July 17.
“As we discuss and debate this ordinance over the next two months, we must both recognize that our community has an interest in additional accountability and transparency related to law enforcement and respect the diligent efforts of our public security personnel, ”de Ferranti said.
Schwartz’s proposal goes against key recommendations given to him by a 15-member committee, including that the board should have independent investigative and disciplinary power.
“There are some authorities, as I acknowledge, that I have not adopted that have been recommended by the law enforcement group,” Schwartz said.
The idea of having civilians to oversee and review elements of law enforcement has gained momentum since social justice rallies swept across the country last year.
In neighboring Alexandria, the city council voted last month to create a civilian police review board that will be able to receive complaints from the community, review the police department’s inquiries into incidents and complaints. and to conduct its own investigations.
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