Fairfax County Considers 142 Changes for Police Department - NBC4 Washington

Julie Carey, David Culver and the News4 team covering where you live

Fairfax County Considers 142 Changes for Police Department

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    Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver with the new police department recommendations being considered by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015)

    Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to further consider 142 recommended changes to the county police department.

    The recommendations come from the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission created by the board in March.

    It’s aimed at establishing greater police accountability and more transparency.

    Its conception was, in part, rooted in the August 2013 shooting death of John Geer. Fairfax County police responded to a domestic 911 call at Geer’s Springfield home.

    The situation escalated to where Officer Adam Torres ultimately shot and killed the unarmed Geer as he stood in his doorway.

    In the more than two years since, residents have protested and called for a police department that’s better equipped to handle similar situations.

    Following Tuesday’s vote, Fairfax County’s Police Chief Edwin Roessler told News4’s Northern Virginia Bureau that many changes are already underway.

    “We’re in the process right now of certifying over 20 officers to train our entire sworn force by March in the preservation of human life,” he said. “To hold and contain the situation when we can, to isolate, evacuate and then call in crisis intervention specialists to try to mitigate our way through negotiation.”

    In addition to the crisis intervention training, the board also approved the department further pursuing the use of body cameras so as to provide even greater transparency.

    They expect to present a pilot program to the ad hoc committee in the next few months.

    But the chief acknowledges it won’t be cheap to implement and they’ll need to overcome some budget challenges.