Alexandria Law Enforcement Agencies Support Virginia Community Policing Act
For Immediate Release: July 22, 2020
The Alexandria Police Department and Alexandria Sheriff’s Office are supporting a new state law that may result in drivers who are pulled over being asked for certain demographic information. As of July 1, the Virginia Community Policing Act requires law enforcement officers to collect information from drivers during all traffic and investigatory stops, and requires agencies to submit the data to a statewide Community Policing Reporting Database.
The law also explicitly prohibits law enforcement officers from engaging in bias-based profiling, defined as actions based solely on the real or perceived race, ethnicity, age, gender, or other noncriminal characteristics of an individual. Statewide data will be analyzed to determine the prevalence of bias-based profiling and complaints alleging the use of excessive force.
State troopers, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and other state and local enforcement officers in Virginia are now required to collect the following data based on the officer's observation or information provided to the officer by the driver: the race, ethnicity, age and gender of the person stopped; the reason for the stop; the location of the stop; whether a warning, written citation or summons was issued, or whether any person was arrested; the warning provided, violation charged, or crime charged (if any); and whether the vehicle or any person was searched.
The Police Department has already been collecting the required data (other than whether a search was performed), but drivers may now be asked for this information when it is not otherwise apparent to officers. Data has been collected since 2017, and annual analyses are available for 2018 and 2019. Data on use of force is also available for 2019.
In addition to the data required by the Community Policing Act, the Police Department has been refining its data collection efforts for field contacts. These include contacts that officers make with members of the public that do not fall within the reporting requirements of the new law. The Police Department will include this field contact data along with the data it reports as required by the Community Policing Act.
While the Sheriff’s Office is not a primary law enforcement agency and deputies do not frequently conduct vehicle stops, the Office has been in complete compliance since the new law went into effect.
For inquiries from the news media only, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3965.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/116838.