We, as residents of Arlington, VA, are deeply concerned about the persistent pattern of racial violence at the hands of police officers that continues to be documented across the country. We are also concerned about other patterns of unjust behavior, such as racial profiling, targeting, poor communication with residents of color and non-English speakers, selective call response, unequal application of justice, and other related practices. No community is immune to bad actors in the police force using their positions of authority to infringe on citizens' rights.
We petition the Arlington County Police Department to make the following changes to protect our citizens, our police force, and our community:
1) Establish a Public Safety Commission - A citizen-led commission under the county board would oversee the implementation of critical interventions, in collaboration with ACPD and other community leaders, to further the goals of ensuring anti-racist, equitable policing in Arlington County. This commission should reflect the diversity of Arlington residents, and members should be reasonably compensated or provided stipends for their time.
2) Adopt body-worn cameras - This is an increasingly standard practice to keep community members and officers safer while increasing transparency in police operations. High-quality research has found that body-camera programs can pay for themselves in fewer complaints, faster investigation of complaints, and higher officer productivity. To be effective, body-worn cameras must be adopted alongside policies that require use and that make footage available to citizens, investigative bodies, and the media via a reasonable request process.
3) Make police complaint data readily available to the public - Arlington County should make police complaint data openly available on their website, with identifying information for officers for whom the complaint was validated. Alternatively, Arlington County could contribute to a police data transparency portal such as the Police Data Initiative, in which our neighbors Falls Church and Fairfax County participate.
Other issues that need to be considered are language access, response to mental health incidents, and the terms of our mutual aid agreement with neighboring and federal jurisdictions. These and other action items would be in the purview of the Commission.