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Alexandria’s Policing Review Board shows slow progress in first annual report

(Updated 3:45 p.m.) After all the fuss over its creation, the Alexandria Independent Community Policing Review Board has seemingly had a pretty quiet first full year since its creation.

The Board started meeting in January this year, and the first annual public report said it’s mostly been focusing on prep work.

“The Board began meeting in January 2022, and has been diligently working on readiness requirements in the ordinance such as hiring an Independent Policing Auditor/Investigator, drafting bylaws, and completing training,” the report said.

The seven-person Board was created by City Council last year to independently review allegations of police misconduct.

The top item in the report has been the board’s work in helping to select an independent auditor, who will hire staff, conduct investigations and coordinate the Board’s administrative functions.

So far, the Board has reviewed and discussed resumes of several applicants. In May, the Board met with the City Manager to discuss the hiring process and candidate resumes.

“On May 13, Board Chair Todd Pilot and and Vice Chair Emily Flores met with Kenyatta Uzzell, CEO of Polihire, to better understand the selection process and to provide feedback on the Board’s view of the role of the Auditor and the background and characteristics they saw as important for the position,” the report said. “Polihire identified four candidates. The Board interviewed the four candidates and asked the City Council to interview three of the four candidates.”

According to the report: the pending appointment of an auditor has left the Board in quasi-stasis, unable to implement its bylaws without the assistance and oversight of the as-yet unselected auditor.

The report also said that, despite some scheduling hiccups, all members of the Board will complete their training sessions by the end of this month:

Nevertheless, as of the date of this report, the Board members are expected to have completed their training requirements by the end of September 2022. For each member, this training will include:

  • Presentation on the Board’s powers and duties under Title 2, Chapter 4, Article AAA of the City Code (the Independent Community Policing Review Board Article) by Meghan Roberts and Robert Porter of the City Attorney’s Office;
  • Presentation on the Board’s obligations under FOIA, conflict of interest and ethics rules,and Roberts Rules of Order by David Lanier of the City Attorney’s Office;
  • Presentation on use of force by APD Sgt. Ryan Staab;
  • Presentation on the investigative process of the APD Office of External Affairs andProfessional Responsibility by Sgt. Jeff Harrington, with assistance from Sgt. Aloysius Asonglefac;
  • Three ride-alongs with the APD; and
  • Eight hours of National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement training webinars.

Once an auditor is selected, the report said the Board will able to do more in the upcoming year. The report included a list of goals and benchmarks for the Board to accomplish by this time in 2023:

  • Enact bylaws and investigation procedures
  • Get Auditor, Board Chair and Board Vice Chair involved in NACOLE (The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) and registered for NACOLE conferences, encourage other Board members to get involved with NACOLE
  • Execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the APD
  • Create an intake process and tracking system
  • Issue the Board Readiness Resolution
  • Begin reviewing investigative cases
  • Make available videos of meetings on website
  • Review of APD policies
  • Meet with community groups, the APD, and police union.