Community Oversight Board in Law Enforcement

Arlington County Board Solicits Members for Community Oversight Board  

NOTE: formerly referenced as Civilian Review Board

On July 21, 2021, the Arlington County Board established a Community Oversight Board (COB) and Independent Policing Auditor. In an effort to improve transparency and accountability in the Arlington County Police Department.  The COB will have independent investigative and subpoena power. The ordinance also calls for an accompanying Independent Policing Auditor to work with the Community Oversight Board.

The Oversight Board will consist of seven voting members who are residents of the County and reflect the demographic diversity as well as two non-voting members with prior experience in law enforcement, all of whom will be appointed by the County Board. This COB and the Independent Auditor will be charged with conducting concurrent investigations where warranted, reviewing citizen complaints and recommending/reviewing police disciplinary actions and policy reviews, among other duties. The ordinance also calls for an accompanying Independent Policing Auditor to work with the Oversight Board.

Fall/Winter 2021-2022
  • County Board will receive and review COB candidate applications
  • County Board appoints inaugural members of COB 
  • Within 30 days, COB meets to begin establishing practices and procedures, by-laws, and MOU 
  • Begin recruitment for Independent Policing Auditor (IPA) 
Spring 2022: 
  • COB passes resolution that it is ready to begin its work (after sufficiently staffed, initial training concluded, etc.) 

 Related Historical County Board Background Materials  

Police Practices Group 

In 2019, the County Manager launched a 15 member Police Practices Group (PPG) in July 2020. The PPG divided into four subcommittees to address key issues of importance, one of which was a subcommittee charged with evaluating what type of civilian oversight of its police department Arlington County should implement. The Civilian Review Board (CRB) subcommittee focused on reviewing the different models of civilian oversight available as well as what authority and responsibilities the recommended civilian oversight body should possess. 

PPG Products related to Civilian Review Board 
  • Literature Review (PPG Subcommittee on Civilian Review Board-Fall 2020)
Virginia State Legislation
  • SB 5035, 1st Spec. Sess. (Va. 2020).
  • SB 5055, 1st. Spec. Sess. (Va. 2020).
Materials Related to CRB in Other Jurisdictions
Presentation Materials Provided to PPG Subcommittee on CRB