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As the City of Fredericksburg continues important efforts to advance and unite the community, City Council this week approved the engagement of a third-party consultant to conduct an independent review of the City’s law enforcement practices and recent instances of use of force and arrests during demonstrations between May 31 and June 2 in Fredericksburg.
Fredericksburg City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the hiring of Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), after an extensive staff review to identify a qualified third-party reviewer. The City worked closely with Cynthia E. Hudson, a Richmond attorney who is the chair of Governor Ralph Northam’s Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law and former Virginia Chief Deputy Attorney General, on the process to find the best-qualified third-party review firm.
“The City has an exemplary vision to be an administration that strives to be its best self, and City Council has wisely called for a response to address circumstances that are not business as usual,” Hudson said. “They recognize that these unprecedented circumstances require specific and actionable attention. The community should be proud of the transparent steps the City has taken.”
PERF was selected for its unique ability to help the Fredericksburg Police Department evaluate its policies, procedures, practices, tactics and training on mass demonstrations and less-lethal force. PERF is a recognized leader in the industry with more than 40 years of experience, inclusive of hundreds of studies with police agencies throughout the U.S.
“I want to thank City Council for taking important steps in advancing the conversation and providing the necessary support to ensure a responsible decision was made in an open and transparent process as we move forward with a third-party review,” said Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw.
PERF’s scope of work is outlined in the public document presented during Tuesday’s City Council meeting (available here) and is expected to take 6-8 months. The work will be handled by a six-member team PERF specially selected for Fredericksburg that includes two law enforcement professionals, including a certified training expert, and four civilian members specializing in criminology, use of force, research and data analysis, and public policy.