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Alexandria seeking applicants for community policing review board

The City of Alexandria is looking for locals to comprise the new Independent Community Policing Review Board, a body created by the City Council last year as part of an effort to provide greater police accountability in the wake of the George Floyd murder and the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

The new review board is an eight-member panel that will review complaints against the police department after an internal investigation by the police department. Ordinance adopted on April 17 earlier this year described the board as part of an effort to enhance policing legitimacy and to maintain trust between the police department, City Council, city manager and the public.

According to the ordinance:

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Independent Policing Auditor/Investigator shall forward the file with a report of investigation to the Board. The Board shall hold at least one public hearing on the investigation. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Board may take one of the following actions: 1) Dismiss the complaint if, based on the file and report of investigation, it determines that the complaint lacks merit or the incidents was justified; 2) Refer the complaint to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Alexandria; and 3) Recommend disciplinary action to be taken by the Chief of Police.

The board will consist of seven boting members and one advisory member, all of whom must be city residents. According to the ordinance, the board will have:

  • 3 members from historically, racially, or socially marginalized communities that have commonly experienced disparate policing in Alexandria or the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • 1 member who represents an organization, office, or agency that seeks racial or social justice or that otherwise advocates on behalf of historically, racially, or socially marginalized communities, particularly communities that may have experienced disparate policing, who will serve a three-year term.
  • 3 at-large members, who will serve a three-year term
  • 1 nonvoting , ex-officio member who shall have past experiences in law enforcement, but shall not be a current employee of or an immediate family member of a current employee of a law enforcement agency and shall be at least three years honorably removed from service, who will serve a three-year term.

Applications must be submitted (type “police” into the search bar) by Friday, Nov. 12.

The creation of the board received some pushback from police during the approval process. In a newsletter, Wilson cited the review board as one of several achievements on heightening police accountability over the last year.

“Yet we can never declare ‘victory,'” Wilson wrote. “Every day, these efforts must continue as we work to provide a level of transparency that increases public confidence in the great work done by the men and women who serve and protect our community every day.”

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