Alexandria Police employees give department mixed reviews

(Updated at 11 a.m. on April 12) Alexandria Police Department employees have mixed reviews whether they feel valued.

Roughly half of APD staff (153-155 employees) recently participated in an annual citywide employee engagement survey. APD says that Chief Michael L. Brown and other Department heads were encouraged by the city to release the survey results to employees, and that the findings are being included in the APD High Performance Organization Plan.

“The department is in rapid decline,” one of the respondents wrote. “Many are leaving for higher paying careers. Once proud employees are being beaten down emotionally by the constant lack of support.”

About 43% of APD employees participating in the survey felt engaged with the organization, while 33% remained neutral and 24% were unfavorable. Additionally, 49 out of 155 employees (32%) recommended APD as a great place to work.

“With all the craziness going on today I feel you are being held accountable for the failures of others,” an APD employee wrote of Brown. “I know you (have been) often placed in difficult situations but I want you to stay positive. Keep your people first but always take care of your family.”

One employee criticized APD for not responding to the siege at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and said the department bungled getting vaccines for officers.

“We are the closest agency and we stood by with our hands in our pockets,” the employee wrote. “We’ve heard all the reasons, we just aren’t buying. The handling of the Covid vaccine distribution is another travesty. The fact that there was no pod of doses set aside for the police is embarrassing. A website where we had to fight with the general public to get appointments that didn’t even work half the time.”

Another APD staffer said that Brown has helped change a long-existing toxic work culture.

“He has opened the window for all members of the department to develop and advance their careers,” the employee wrote. “From the start, he has made every effort to address the systemic racism that some members of the police department are not willing to admit exists.”

Another officer said that there should not be a community police review board.

“This department is different th(a)n the current media likes to portray police and lumping this department in with the media hysteria will just hurt the department and make good officers unhappy and leave,” the employee said.

Below the jump are a few statistics from the survey.

APD employees trust leaders and managers to lead the city to future success:

  • 13% Favorable
  • 36% Neutral
  • 52% Unfavorable

APD leaders and managers value people as their most important resource:

  • 18% Favorable
  • 37% Neutral
  • 47% Unfavorable

APD leaders demonstrate integrity:

  • 14% Favorable
  • 41% Neutral
  • 45% Unfavorable

APD’s culture supports health and wellbeing of employees

  • 23% Favorable
  • 38% Neutral
  • 40% Unfavorable

Alexandria is a great place to work:

  • 32% Favorable
  • 46% Neutral
  • 22% Unfavorable

It would take a lot to get the employee to leave the City of Alexandria:

  • 24% Favorable
  • 32% Neutral
  • 45% Unfavorable

APD employees are paid fairly:

  • 11% Favorable
  • 30% Neutral
  • 59% Unfavorable

(Correction: A previous version of the story said that Chief Brown was largely criticized in the survey. In fact, only Brown’s name as the department head was put on the document and was not meant to reflect that the survey was about him, according to the city.)