Arlington County creates civilian police oversight board after year-long debate

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Back in May, the Arlington County Board debated on creating a civilian review board. Wednesday night, they voted to move forward on making that board a reality.

Under a Virginia law passed last year, localities can establish civilian boards with the power to subpoena police and make disciplinary decisions, including firing officers. This comes about to address the trust issues that exist between the police and the community. The oversight board will hold the Arlington county police department accountable for any wrongdoings and be able to review police investigations that have already been completed.

“[It is] a robust community oversight board that includes subpoena in cases after some collaborative work. But if necessary subpoena power is in the advised ordinance so that we can make sure there is that true review and true oversight that our communities of color have been asking for,” Matt de Ferranti, Arlington County board chair, said.

The Arlington County Board doesn’t have an exact date on when they will review the progress of their proposal, but board members say it may come in less than 2 years. Ferranti believes this is a step in the right direction; however, he believes they need 3 more pieces of legal authority from Richmond and will ask for that with their state delegation.

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