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Area law enforcement agencies lack citizen review boards to oversee disciplinary actions

Henrico police investigating burglary at business near Willow Lawn
Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 18:44:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A review by CBS 6 of five area law enforcement departments found none of them have independent community review boards made up of citizens to review the department's disciplinary actions.

Those departments: Petersburg, Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond, and Hanover.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Wednesday that he and Chief William Smith are now committed to establishing a citizen review board in the city.

A spokesperson for the Henrico Police Department said the use of a community review board has been discussed in the past and may be a topic for the Citizen Advisory Board.

Henrico's Citizen Advisory Board does not advise police on disciplinary matters.

All of the departments we reviewed have internal affairs departments that investigate the most egregious complaints, for example, excessive use of force.

In Hanover, that department is called Professional Standards and Risk Management.

In Chesterfield, the Office of Professional Standards.

In most cases, if the complaint does not rise to the level of an internal affairs investigation, for example, a complaint involving the use of foul language, it is investigated by a member of the police department.

That investigation is typically conducted by the supervisor of the employee in question or someone in the division where they work.

In Petersburg, Hanover and Richmond, the police chief or the sheriff reviews the investigative findings and then decides what action to take, if any.

In Chesterfield, all investigations are reviewed by the Captain, and in Henrico, internal affairs contacts the County Attorney, Human Resources, and Commonwealth's Attorney when appropriate.