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New position created to monitor Henrico Police activity

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 18:13:01-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico County's top prosecutor has created a new position in her office to help ensure police follow the law when interacting with the community. Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor said she believed the newly-created position of Police Integrity and Compliance is the first of its kind in Virginia.

"Although I am pleased that Henrico police patrol officers wear body-worn cameras and that we make every effort to view this footage, I have determined this is insufficient. My responsibility as Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney is to keep citizens safe, and this is an important part of that," Taylor said in a written statement. “I recognize police have a role to play in public safety but they must, simply must, do that in a lawful, respectful manner, without regard to the race, sex, age or immigration status of anyone involved."

Taylor did not specify if a Henrico-related incident prompted the change, or if her office was reacting to the national conversation surrounding the relationship between police and the communities they serve in the wake of the George Floyd protests.

Taylor said in addition to the newly-created position, there will be an email address -- CitizenCA@henrico.us -- to which citizens can report police-related concerns.

"I would encourage the public to contact us when they believe they have had an illegal encounter with police," she said. "The new attorney I am hiring will be staffing that hotline and acting on community concerns. They will also be going out into the community to hear of issues."

Taylor also said she planned to create a "strong civilian review board" to make sure police-related issues are addressed. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney recently committed to establishing a similar board in the City of Richmond.

“This new position in my office will ensure that Henricoans can feel confident that if any encounters with police seem wrong and not lawful, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will intervene," she said.

"The notion we have interactions with law enforcement that some citizens may feel were unprofessional or excessive. Right now the only avenue that is available is that they can call the police division and they can make a complaint. This is just another opportunity for them express their concerns," she added.

CBS 6 reached out to the Henrico Police Department for comment.

A department spokesperson says Taylor has not had any conversations about the new position with the chief.