On Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors established a panel for civilians to review police, which will serve as another way for residents to submit complaints concerning allegations of abuse of authority or misconduct by a Fairfax County police officer. In a statement issued Wednesday, Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova said, “Police officers put themselves on the line every day to protect and serve the residents of Fairfax County, and I respect and applaud the difficult work they do. The establishment of a Civilian Review Panel is a positive step forward to further promote transparency and openness in community policing.”
She noted that the panel will have many responsibilities and roles, with full details will be outlined in the coming weeks. But as a sampling, she said, there are three ways the panel will work to enhance trust between our community and police: 1) Review Records and Hold Meetings – The Civilian Review Panel will have the authority to request and review completed Police Department internal administrative investigations regarding a civilian complaint against an officer. The panel may hold public meetings to review police administrative investigations and walk through with members of the community how the investigation was conducted, including findings of fact, evidence collected and witness statements; 2) Types of Complaints and Cases – The panel may choose to review the following types of cases: The use of abusive, racial, ethnic or sexual language; harassment or discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, familial status, or disability; the reckless endangerment of a detainee or person in custody; serious violations of Fairfax County or police procedures.