Fairfax County Board Expected to Vote on Police Body-Worn Camera Program This Month

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a body-worn camera program for the Fairfax County Police Department later this month.

If the board’s public safety committee votes in favor of the program today (Tuesday), the board will likely vote on the project on September 24.

Earlier this year, American University researchers analyzed the effects of body-worn cameras on the use of force, changes in policing activities, community members’ assessments of police legitimacy, and the number of community complaints. The report detailed mixed findings. While residents supported the adoption of the program, there was no evidence the cameras directly impacted community member’s satisfied with FCPD.

The program, which would be phased out over three years, will cost $4.3 million next year — a sum that will be covered from the county’s reserve funds. In 2021, the program is expected to cost $5.5 million and roughly $1.1 million in 2022.

If approved, more than 1,200 camera will be deployed to all district stations. Overall, 34 new full-time employees will be hired, including five staff members for FCPD, 23 staff members for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and six positions with the Department of Information Technology.

Police officers at the Reston District Station — which was included in last year’s pilot program — would be the first to receive the devices if the program is approved.

School Resource Officers are also expected to receive body-worn cameras. However, the committee cautioned that decisions to deploy the devices will be made in concert with the Fairfax County School Board and the Board of Supervisors.

The county contracted American University researchers to study the effects of the pilot program after FCPD Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. recommended implementing the program in June 2015. A six-month pilot began in March last year in the Mason, Mount Vernon and Reston district stations.

At a committee meeting in June, board supervisors largely expressed support for the program.

Photo via FCPD

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