From the Fairfax NAACP:
FAIRFAX NAACP STATEMENT ON FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE CHIEF
The Fairfax County NAACP is disappointed with the process that was used to select the new leader of the Fairfax County Police Department. Unlike the 2013 hiring process for the former police chief, Fairfax County residents were excluded from the candidate evaluation and interview sessions. Throughout the hiring process, the Fairfax County NAACP expressed concern over the lack of transparency and accountability to the public, and while we understand the need to protect the identity of job-seekers, we also understand the importance of selecting a candidate that embodies the One Fairfax sentiment. The core of this process should have included meaningful public participation throughout the selection process. The trust and safety of the Fairfax community should have been the top concern. We do not believe the Board conducted as transparent a process as the public deserves.
Last Friday, Chairman McKay announced Mr. Kevin Davis was selected to be the new Chief of Police. Scant descriptions of his track record or justification as to why he was chosen were provided to the public. The community was, once again, excluded from the process. At a minimum, the results of a county-wide survey that was supposed to be used to help guide the search and interviews, should have been presented to the Board of Supervisors at a regularly scheduled meeting and made readily available for public review. The Board also should have provided a better understanding of the reasons it believes Mr. Davis is the best candidate to run the FCPD.
NBC Washington’s recently released news segment covered two cases (losing both civil lawsuits) from earlier in his policing career in which Mr. Davis was found to have used excessive force. One of these cases involved accusations of racist mistreatment and raised concerns among our already traumatized community–which does not need to mend a new relationship before it begins (especially as we are grappling with a barrage of reports of police misconduct, and excessive use of force cases by law enforcement around the country and even in our own backyard). These reports raised concerns for the life and safety of our youth, members with disabilities, LGBTQ, and BIPOC communities. We are skeptical about the level of transparency and accountability that will be exhibited by law enforcement and county leadership, based on this deeply troubling appointment process.
The Fairfax County NAACP has worked alongside the leaders of the FCPD to adopt meaningful reform, and we will continue to advocate and call for community-centered police reform in the following (among other things):
- Protect the public against discriminatory practices such as racial profiling
- Adopt model practices on excessive Use of Force policy and body worn-camera standard operating procedures that maximize the safety of both citizens and officers
- Treat individuals experiencing a mental health episode not as criminals but as medical patients seeking help
- Lead in efforts to expand policing data transparency to promote accountability
- Hold officers accountable for fair and respectful treatment when engaging with the general public, particularly women and people of color
- Promote a culture of accountability that includes cooperation with fully-independent oversight by the Independent Police Auditor and Police Civilian Review Panel, and a transparent and effective department and officer accountability and disciplinary process
- Lead the nation in de-escalation by partnering with social services agencies to resolve disputes and de-escalate situations where armed officers are not required
- Promote equity in law enforcement by employing and publishing research-supported metrics of policing justness and fairness
- Ensure that FCPD mirrors the community by supporting strict recruiting, vetting, hiring and promotion practices that will maintain a racially, culturally and ethnically diverse department
- Support advocacy efforts on a state and national level to end qualified immunity
- Enforce strict policies regarding police officer use of weapons, requiring all officers to report every instance in which their weapon was drawn even if shots are not fired
The NAACP has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. We do not take the safety of our communities lightly or to chance. For the reasons listed above, the Fairfax County NAACP does not have confidence in the process by which the new Police Chief was hired – or its results – and requests that the County, in collaboration with the community, conduct a transparent search for a new Police Chief together.
Karen T. Campblin
Fairfax County NAACP