Transparency and accountability: A message from City Police Chief Brian Layton
From Fredericksburg City Police:
With recent events that have gained national attention, I want to assure all Fredericksburg residents, business owners, and visitors that the Fredericksburg Police Department, with the strong support of City government, is comprised of highly trained professionals. We are all working to enhance the safety and security of our community.
Last November, I am proud to say the Department was nationally re-accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), an organization that sets the gold standard for public safety and provides a blueprint for best practices for law enforcement. Our Department first received accreditation in 2009 and, out of 340 law enforcement agencies in Virginia, only 34 agencies are CALEA accredited.
In 2014, we were the first law enforcement agency in Virginia to equip all officers with body-worn cameras. Body-worn cameras provide transparency, accuracy, quicker resolution when citizen complaints arise, and hold everyone accountable for their actions.
In 2015, the Fredericksburg Police Department established a Citizens Advisory Panel, which is made up of key stakeholders within the City of Fredericksburg. The Citizen Advisory Panel was created to facilitate two-way communication between the Fredericksburg Police Department and those influential people. The goal of the panel is to enhance community relations through education of Department procedures and programs while also providing an opportunity for the Chief of Police to actively listen to concerns regarding police services or social problems. The Chief of Police and Citizens Advisory Panel work together to find solutions to problems when they arise.
Additionally, our agency has always been committed to providing high-quality, modern training to sworn and civilian staff in every area of policing. Our police recruits attend a 20-week academy at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy where they receive training in community policing, cultural diversity, ethical decision making, defensive tactics, and de-escalation. However, training does not stop once they graduate. In addition to maintaining DCJS certification, Fredericksburg Police Officers are held to a higher standard and receive biannual defensive tactic training, annual anti-bias based policing training, annual verbal de-escalation training, and biannual use of force training.
Our agency is committed to fostering strong relationships with our community. I am proud to lead our police department, build upon its success, and continue to work with the community to enhance everyone’s quality of life in the City of Fredericksburg.