Inaugural Members Appointed to Community Oversight Board

Published on March 22, 2022

The Arlington County Board is excited to announce the newly appointed members of the Community Oversight Board (COB). The COB is a public body appointed by the County Board charged with advising the Board on how to improve transparency and accountability in the Arlington County Police Department and to perform delegated functions of the County Board including accepting complaints from community members, reviewing ACPD investigations into police conduct, and engaging with the community to improve the relationship with law enforcement professionals.

The Oversight Board will consist of seven voting members who are residents of the County and reflect our demographic diversity along with two non-voting members with prior law enforcement experience. Among the COB’s first acts of business will be to establish policies and procedures for their operations. The work of the COB will be supported by an Independent Policing Auditor, a new position, that the County is in the process of recruiting. The hiring announcement for the Independent Policing Auditor was posted by the County last week.

At its March 22 recessed Board meeting, the County Board appointed the 7 voting and 2 non-voting members. “My colleagues and I were very impressed with the quality of applicants for our inaugural Community Oversight Board. We are confident that the thoughtful group selected – which brings together a broad range of life and professional experiences – will be leaders in advancing mutual trust and respect between public safety and Arlington residents,” stated Board Chair Katie Cristol.

“The COB reflects the rich diversity of Arlington County, and its members are committed to our values of transparency, trust, and mutual respect. While their work is just beginning, I have no doubt that they will be integral in constructive oversight of law enforcement and deepening trust and legitimacy between our police and residents,” said County Board Vice-Chair Christian Dorsey.

The nine members of the COB were introduced at the County Board recessed meeting on March 22, 2022. A short biography on each member is provided here, including employment information, volunteer work, and their answer to the question ‘why do you want to serve on the COB?’

VOTING MEMBERS

Garry Dean (65) – Mr. Dean is a retired United States Air Force (USAF) Major General with experience as both a military and civilian pilot. He is also the former Deputy USAF Inspector General. He has also served as a youth sports coach and is on the Board of Advisors for the National Youth Impact Program. Mr. Dean also serves on the board of his church. “I think I can provide a balanced oversight approach to ensure the basic rights of citizens are respected and helping to inspire a culture where the high standards and responsibility of law enforcement as public servants enables safer communities with mutual respect between our citizens and law enforcement.”

Lisa Ortiz (58) – Ms. Ortiz is a Senior Economist at US Agency for International Development (USAID) where she serves as an agency mentor. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. “I think this is a critical issue. I have never had anything but positive encounters with the police but I know that is not everyone's experience. Even when fully warranted, finding a member of one's family engaged with the justice system can be frightening, especially when you are poor and an immigrant that barely speaks the language. The police and the legal system should not be a frightening experience. Strengthening transparency, increasing communication, and developing a shared vision can help to correct that.”

Sasha Ridley (46) – Ms. Ridley promoted police and military human rights education at the Department of Defense and the Department of State. She also taught Constitutional Law at DC public schools and helped educate kids on their Constitutional rights. “I want to strengthen our community by advocating for fair and effective policing that is consistent with local and state laws and regulations. I love our county and want to promote an accountable police force.”

Julie Evans (32) – Ms. Evans is a transportation engineer and also volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in Arlington and Alexandria. She also has experience promoting adult literacy and women’s health and safety. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. “Our community needs to be proactive to ensure all residents feel safe and served by our local law enforcement and I'm eager to understand and help navigate the challenges involved in modern policing.”

Martin Ennis-Osorio (22) – Mr. Ennis-Osorio is an IT specialist for the US Department of State. He also volunteers for local charities such as Red Cross and Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). He is bilingual in English and Spanish. “I am interested in contributing as part of a new generation, and multicultural family, that has been and is heavily impacted in police work in Arlington. I want to positively contribute to my community and a healthy relationship between the police and my community. I am fluent in Spanish and English, basic IT systems, and was raised in heavily policed areas of Arlington.”

Anika Montgomery (41) – Ms. Montgomery is a licensed Master Social Worker with extensive experience in mental and behavioral health, as well as working with active-duty military. Her volunteer experience includes AFAC and Hospice Care. “I am interested in serving on the COB because of my commitment to ethical and social oversight. I believe that all individuals in appointed positions should have a checks-and-balance board to ensure that rules and policies are being complied with. This helps strengthen the community’s trust with law enforcement and promote engagement.”

David Smith (61) – Mr. Smith is counsel for Legal Initiatives at the Executive Office for the US Attorneys (DOJ). He is also Co-Chair of the Ministry on Race, Reconciliation, and Equity at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Arlington. “It is important that police and the community they serve understand, trust, and believe in each other. I see the role of the COB as helping to bring transparency and accountability to the review of citizen complaints and allegations of police misconduct that are currently handled internally by Arlington PD without public input. The COB will help the Arlington PD avoid the self-bias that institutions inevitably have when there is no form of outside accountability.”

NON-VOTING MEMBERS

James Miller (39) - USMC veteran with 3 combat tours. 8 years in federal law enforcement with the US Department of State. Senior Security Manager in corporate security. Volunteers with the Arlington Little League. “The residents of Arlington County must have confidence in our public institutions. At the forefront of our confidence, law and order upheld by a trusted police department remain a pillar in our community. I care deeply about our community and want to encourage residents’ participation to grow, foster, and adopt new methodologies of police oversight. Time has shown it is necessary to institutionalize coordination and cooperation among police, government officials, and private organizations through new relationships.”

Gary Coffey (61) – Mr. Coffey is currently serving as a security consultant in Washington DC. He retired as an FBI Special Agent and Supervisor after 22 years, with experience in national security and criminal programs, including civil rights and internal investigations. Prior to that, he served 10 years as a police officer. “It’s important to give back to the community and based on my experiences in policing this role would provide the other board members and community with ideas based on 32 years of experience.”

The Board will begin meeting soon and will start by developing their policies and procedures, as well as attending training both locally and with the National Association of Community Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) regarding police oversight best practices.

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