The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will appoint a group of residents to look over police complaints and internal probes as part of a new effort to increase transparency in the area’s law enforcement, according to local officials.
In a 9-1 vote today, the board approved the creation of an independent Police Civilian Review Panel, which will receive Fairfax County Police Department misconduct allegations from the public and examine FCPD internal investigations. The panel will have nine appointees, who can serve up to two, three-year terms.
“Establishing a Police Civilian Review Panel is a historic step in the right direction toward increasing trust and transparency between police and residents,” board chairman Sharon Bulova said in a statement.
The board’s vote came after the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission called for the panel in an October 2015 report to county supervisors. Although Bulova established the commission following a fatal police-involved shooting in 2013, the new panel won’t handle matters concerning potentially criminal uses of force by cops.
Supervisor Pat Herrity, who was the only board member to vote against the panel, said it creates “a lot of serious problems,” including an “uncertain fiscal impact” and police staffing issues.
“The creation of this panel will take our police off the streets at a time when they are in high demand already,” he said in a statement.