We remain committed to addressing the needs of our community and enhancing public safety through outreach efforts and partnerships.
Even during the pandemic, we continue to work closely with community organizations, Alexandria City Public Schools and other City agencies to keep our neighbors safe and strong. Deputies regularly assist groups like ALIVE!, Casa Chirilagua and Meals on Wheels with food distribution and they've also helped ACPS with meal distribution and Firefighters and Friends with school supply giveaways.
Because schools are closed and because many traditional community events have been cancelled or modified, we have changed our outreach efforts. Deputies now read books to kids remotely with videos posted on Facebook and during the summer, we held virtual color book activities and organized a virtual camp for "junior deputies."
We have also remained vigilant about ensuring the safety of our staff and of those in our custody. Starting in March, the Sheriff’s Office began restricting volunteer and visitor access to the jail and since then, ASO staff has been working hard to provide inmates with valuable services and programs while trying to protect them from coronavirus.
Because in-person social visitation has been cancelled, inmates receive two free phone calls each week, and since May, eligible inmates have enjoyed video visitation with friends and family through a secure and encrypted service, at no cost to the inmates or their visitors. Our Inmate Services, Security and IT staff have worked closely together to deliver educational, enrichment and religious programming, and now, thanks in part to secure remote access, inmates may take GED, ESL and Life Learning classes, view faith services from local houses of worship, and participate in reentry preparation.
As always, we are grateful to our community partners and over this summer, I was especially thankful for the input of community stakeholders who I reached out to in the days after the death of George Floyd. We discussed use of force and other important topics like diversity of our workforce, training policies and compliance with national accreditation standards. I asked members of this group, which included representatives from the faith community, NAACP, and Correctional Services Advisory Board, to review how our policies and practices compare to the “8 Can’t Wait” initiative. Although we found we were already in compliance with most recommendations, we made adjustments to our existing practices to align them with “8 Can’t Wait” recommendations.
I deeply appreciate these important conversations and valuable relationships, and I look forward to sharing news about expanded training and new initiatives in the future.
Dana Lawhorne, Sheriff
The Alexandria Sheriff's Office is responsible for the operation of the Detention Center, courthouse and courtroom security, service of all court legal documents, execution of court orders, transportation of prisoners, execution of arrest warrants, and general public safety and law enforcement. All powers, responsibilities and duties of the Alexandria Sheriff's Office derive from common law, the Virginia Constitution, the Code of Virginia and the Alexandria Charter.
The Alexandria Sheriff's Office is a highly professional organization with 209 Deputy Sheriffs and civilian personnel. The Office is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Commission on Accreditation for Corrections, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The Office has been honored by the National Sheriff's Association with the prestigious "Triple Crown Award" for achieving these national accreditations. The Office is also Virginia state certified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Corrections.