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New State Law Leads to Removal of Two ACPD Officers

(Updated 2:45 p.m.) Two Arlington County police officers have been decertified due to a new state law that expands the kinds of offenses for which officers can be permanently banned from law enforcement work in Virginia.

The Arlington County Police Department found the two had lied during an internal affairs investigation. They were officially taken off the streets on May 12, according to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ master list of 94 officers who have been decertified since 1999.

No other Arlington officer appears on that list, but the list does not include all the decertifications documented on paper between 1994 — when the Virginia State Crime Commission recommended a decertification process — and 1999, per a DCJS staff member.

Lying is one of two offenses punishable with decertification under the new law, which went into effect on March 1, the Prince William Times reported. These reforms were backed by the Virginia Association of Police Chiefs, which particularly supported a truthfulness clause.

The new law allows DCJS to ban officers from law enforcement work in Virginia if they were found to have lied or used excessive force.

Seven officers have lost their ability to work in Virginia under the new criteria: Six were decertified for making untruthful statements or providing untruthful documentation and one for using excessive force.

The law also closed a loophole that allowed officers to avoid this fate if they resigned during a decertification proceeding. This allowed officers to find a new job with another law enforcement agency.

“The decertification process is independent of ACPD’s internal investigation and audits process,” said Ashley Savage, the spokeswoman for ACPD. “Accountability is the basis from which we operate and we are committed to holding ourselves accountable to the highest standards of professional law enforcement.”

ACPD notifies DCJS of “sustained allegations which compromise an officer’s credibility, integrity, honesty, and where officers are convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, failed a drug test, or did not maintain their training requirements,” she said.

Prior to the new legislation, officers could be decertified for being convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, failing a drug test or not maintaining training requirements. Since 1999, the most common reasons for decertification included sex crimes (22), fraud (11), assault (10), refused or failed drug tests (9), larceny (7), and destruction or falsification of records (5).

The number of police officers decertified annually in Virginia hovered between five and seven for a number of years, but picked up in 2018 and 2020, the records show. DJCS determined 15 and 19 officers were unfit for duty, respectively, during those years.

Before reaching out to DCJS, ACPD’s Office of Professional Responsibility performs internal audits on all allegations of misconduct and any concerns of use or misuse of equipment, personnel or training, Savage said.

“We constantly monitor and investigate all complaints made against members of the agency,” she said. “When employee actions are not consistent with Arlington County policies and procedures, appropriate corrective measures are taken to ensure that type of incident does not occur in the future; this includes disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Failure to report an incident and/or misconduct by any member of the department is not tolerated.”

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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

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