Public Comments for 07/22/2020 Joint Committee Meeting of Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees
We support: requiring the use of deescalation techniques, requiring mandatory accurate reporting from all officers where instances of force was used, establishing a state-wide duty to intervene, creating a statewide database that details the background and professional history of all law enforcement officers in the state We oppose: the use of force unless all other reasonable options have been exhausted, the use of force as means of retaliation against those who only verbally confront officers or as a means to control individuals who only pose a threat to themselves, any sort of action where the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain is restricted, qualified immunity so officers are kept accountable to citizens and to themselves, no-knock warrants, racial profiling We support HB1532 to amend and reenact § 53.1-202.3 of the Code of Virginia regarding good time credit. This encourages participation in programs that could benefit inmates and creates a safer environment for themselves and staff alike. When Washington State increased good time from 33% to 50%, its Institute of Public Policy estimated “overall net benefit of $7,179 per offender.” We support legislation allowing the immediate release of prisoners who are within one to two years of having served the term of their sentences and whose release does not pose a safety threat. According to infectious disease epidemiologist Barun Mathema, “People inside jails are more likely to be immune-compromised; they may have diabetes, hypertension, mental illness, substance use problems or other chronic health issues.” LWV-VA takes a strong stand in support of policies that promote mental health. We advocate banning juvenile solitary confinement and increasing accountability and transparency when it comes to the use of solitary confinement. The National Academy of Sciences committee reported in a study that “for some prisoners ... solitary confinement precipitates a descent into madness,” and that “many inmates experience panic attacks, depression and paranoia, and some suffer hallucinations.” Solitary confinement is inhumane and is not a productive way to help prisoners successfully rejoin society due to its detrimental mental effects; nor should it be used as a method to provide social distancing in the event of a pandemic Changes are needed in our election laws to make voting more accessible. These include: enshrining the right to vote in our constitution so that it cannot be abridged by law. An unfair judicial system has caused a disproportionate number of Black and Brown voters to have their right to vote stripped. It is crucial that incarcerated people retain their rights to participate in the election of their representatives whose laws affect their circumstances. If they are to fully participate in their society, they must be able to exercise their right to vote. Virginia can and should put protections in place by passing our own Voting Rights Act to protect against voter discrimination and disenfranchisement. The pandemic has brought to light more barriers to voting, especially to our most vulnerable populations. We need to require registrars to contact voters about missing information that will keep their ballots from being counted, remove the witness requirement for absentee ballots, place drop boxes for the secure deposit of absentee ballots, and provide postage paid ballots. It is important that voters are able to have access to exercise their right to vote safely and efficiently
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, (JCRC) which represents over 100 local synagogues, schools and institutions, appreciates the opportunity to present this testimony on Criminal Justice and Police Reform. The JCRC implores the Virginia General Assembly to adopt laws that ensure our systems of criminal justice and policing are equitable and just for people of color in Virginia. Our organizations and our community value our long-standing role as mutual friends and allies to the African-American community and are committed to dismantling institutionalized racism. We have been in conversation with our community partners to listen, learn, and support – and to now implore you to fix our system and ensure accountability for conduct and performance of police and prosecutors by: Requiring transparency and reporting of data about police stops, traffic citations, traffic stops, major crimes, arrests, misdemeanors, other stops, frisks, citations, arrests, searches and consents to search, and use of force incidents; Requiring and funding Body Worn Cameras (BWC) throughout the Commonwealth and that Standard Operating Procedures impart meaningful consequences for any officer whose BWC is not turned on during any officer interaction with the public; Requiring that jurisdictions have a requirement to and mechanism for sharing data when an officer is found to have violated a department’s policy or the law, committed official misconduct or resigned while under investigation for these offenses to prevent bad actors from moving through the Commonwealth. Requiring every jurisdiction in the Commonwealth to empower a civilian review panel with members and counsel independent of any conflict to review use of force complaints, and give input on use of force policies. The JCRC appreciates the opportunity to present this testimony today. Thank you for taking on this important issue during this Special Session.
I have enjoyed watching the expert testimony in the public hearings on police and justice reform. I have watched them on my lunch break, so I have not seen every individual speak, but I have heard many good ideas floated before your committee in this short time. I believe the only way for police to be able to protect the community is if they have the trust of the public. And in order to have that trust they need to be accountable to the public. They need to be accountable for their actions and transparent in their work. Police and sheriffs hold a great amount of power and thus should hold great responsibility. In order to gain trust in the police we must end qualified immunity, require de-escalation policies, end tail-light policing, expand data collection and mandatory reporting for use of force, and eliminate "contempt of cop" laws. The police should be protecting us, and giving them guidance will help them do so, as will having and enforcing rules for their behavior. If we believe society responds to being monitored and punished for breaking rules, we have an obligation to also apply that principal to the people we give guns. We can also help get a better breed of cop by helping police obtain more eductions, live in the communities they serve and by removing incentive to boost arrests or earn overtime by booking petty crimes. We also need to empower our local communities. In Charlottesville we are struggling to get the Police Civilian Review Board running. We are on our second panel of educated, invested citizen trying to hold the police to the same standard that police hold citizens to, and the board keeps having their suggestions gutted. It would help to have state rules in place, allowing CRBs access to all relevant police files and data. I believe police oversight is hard, and police unions will use all their power to eliminate as much of it as possible. We need strong, unambiguous rules. We need to support police and help them hold their own departments accountable. You need to listen to the expert testimony you are receiving that will help you do this. I don't believe we need to do research or form commissions on this. We know the answers. I am a woman with a desk job (technically bench job - I work in a research lab), but I understand how many of these laws will help and are desperately needed. As legislators you need the courage of the convictions to do what is right. Thank you for having this conversation so openly and so honestly, but at the end you need to actually listen to what is being said and pass laws we all know we need. Thank you, Crystal Passmore
I am in favor of the earned good time bill
Trust and Communication When trust is established between two parties, a relationship of cooperation is formed which can lead to improved public safety. An article in Police Chief Magazine argues that “…effective government is based on trust…” and that citizen input should be utilized “to build trust and two-way communication” with police. Citizen input can foster communication between police and the community and that communication can lead to increased trust. Transparency and Understanding of Law Enforcement Policies Transparency is a catalyst for the trust that is key to a successful partnership between police and community. The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015) recommended that police leaders work to “establish a culture of transparency and accountability in order to build public trust.” Collaborative partnerships between police and the community they serve can promote transparency by helping to increase public awareness and understanding of police safety strategies and policies. Transparency of a police department’s disciplinary process reassures the community that when appropriate, discipline is being imposed. Transparency leads to improved cooperation between both parties, increased reporting of crime, and community participation in implementation of safety strategies. All of these lead to a safer community for everyone. Strengthens Partnerships and increases Citizen and Police Quality of Life A study in Police Quarterly indicated that law enforcement officers reported high job satisfaction in jurisdictions where police and citizen partnerships were established. Community input can help improve the relationship between community and police. One law enforcement consultant suggests that when both parties work together, they can draw from each other’s strengths to solve problems more effectively.
I was a police officer when it was a Misdemeanor long ago. People would fight you at a whim because they realized their would be almost no punishment, that is why the law was changed. Any fight could escalate into something more serious so the best way to prevent that is not to have the fight in the first place. When no one will take that job, who is going to enforce the law, YOU. I doubt it. One thing none of you are taking into account is that every police department is having a very difficult time retaining and hiring officers. Its like one police officer told me, if anyone starting out their working career applies to be a police officer, you already know they are not smart enough to do the job because anyone smart enough to do it would never be dumb enough to want that job. The wolf has convinced the sheep that the sheepdog is the dangerous one and needs to be removed. God help the sheep when they get their wish and the wolf has them all to himself. It is hard to believe that supposedly intelligent people would ever consider this. The lunatics surely have taken over the asylum.
All aspects of how the judicial proceeding are not by laws as legislation set forth allot of fraud and cover-up within JDR Court judge David O,Donnell, Circuit Court judge Bruce Albertson & judge Thomas Willson set's in for the two as they have all have broke and covered up all judicial cannons and laws within my case's and other's within the jurisdiction as well as Clerks of court Chez Hayward and staff pending from JDR clerks withholding /hiding court documents and colluding with lawyer's to serve wrong addresses for process of service and continuing case's leaving litigants in default as they proceeded in resjudica case's as GAL Avery Cousins appointed to proceedings conspires in not baring case's already litigated. As well as (example) Marsha Garst and criminal Court judges allowing cases of drug abuse while caretaking for minor child as seen in case ref (Dawn R Cullers) and never mentioning such minor that is known from all court officers are well aware of all custody matters of omissions from caretakers within these case's as she was tried in GD and not charging her for crimes as was gifted to them. This judicial system is in major need of makeover from fraud and neglect on citizen's of these courts there all working together in RICO status as well as there positions in neighboring counties. JUSTICE NEEDED WITHIN TO INITIATE FARE DEALINGS AMONG CASE'S TRIED HEREIN AS NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED. RULES OF REGULATIONS ABOLISHED FROM JUDGES MENTIONED WITHIN AS THERE MAKING THERE OWN RULES AS THEY PROCEED WITH ACTS OF FRAUDS AND ENDANGERING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO NO EXTENT OF THE LAWS. TAKING ADVANTAGES OF PROSE LITIGANTS ALLOWING LAWYERS TO BADGER UNDER ETHICAL VIOLATIONS.
On January 4, 2018 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a man was sentenced following a jury trial to 170 years in prison. (That’s not a typo – one hundred seventy years.) He was convicted of 35 counts of child p*rn*graphy distribution (meaning he downloaded CP from the internet using peer-to-peer software which allows images to be transferred, thus “distributed”). The sentencing judge in the case commented that the “sentence is wildly disproportionate to the crime“ but his “hands [were] tied” (by mandatory minimums and the number of charges the prosecutor chose to bring). There is a mandatory minimum of 5 years for each charge after the first and a charge can be made for each image of child p*rn that was distributed. Computer files typically hold hundreds of images. It is up to the prosecutor to decide how many charges to bring. One bad decision on one occasion to download one file becomes numerous crimes. In this case the prosecutor chose to charge him for 35 images. It could have been hundreds equaling an even more preposterous number of years in prison. Or it could have been less, or only one. It is all up to a virtually unlimited number with each prosecutor, and as a result there is a wide discrepancy in sentencing for this crime from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Mandatory minimums were instituted to ensure more even-handed sentencing by judges. But in the case of CP distribution this disparity in sentencing is due to the extreme range in the number of charges the prosecutor has the sole discretion to bring. Due to mandatory minimums the number of charges determines the sentence, virtually free of judicial restraint. This case of 170 years is not the only case of excessive sentencing for CP distribution. Most cases do not go to trial but are settled by plea bargain under the threat of extreme initial charges, 40, 50 or more years not uncommon, then plead down to 10, 15 years in prison. Child p*rn use is vile and immoral but it does not directly or deliberately harm anyone. By comparison, ten years is the mandatory maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter, where someone has actually been killed.
Virginia has no judicial oversight. Complaints can’t be submitted until cases are closed and most often complaints are not dealt with once submitted. Judges in the Commonwealth are overreaching their power, violating civil and constitutional rights, and there are no repercussions leaving innocent families in civil court to be in fear of being jailed and losing their children to foster care with no due process. Horrors, injustices, and crimes are being committed across the Commonwealth in Civil Court and no one will do anything to step in to help families that risk losing all so to power hungry judges who are biased particularly against women and children, but men as well. The FBI, State Police, Police, Sherriff’s Office, Supreme Court, AG, Governor’s office, and other options will not intervene in Civil Court despite houses and children being stolen out from Virginians. The 6th judicial district needs major cleaning up. Judge GILL was pulled out of retirement and is violating civil and constitutional rights for fun and threatening to jail innocent single mothers if they don’t violate their rights. Judge Sharrett has produced orders based on fraud to bring harm to single mothers and children. Temporary orders are made so no complaints can be reviewed at the Supreme Court. I have HUNDREDS of parents reaching out on a daily basis seeking help when there is none. Mothers, particularly poor mothers, are being targeted and losing their children to the foster care system to be adopted out for profit when they do all they can to fight for their children. Someone please remove Judge Gill and place him back in retirement. He is actively putting a single mom and 3 children in danger by not following the law. He is forcing the mother to give her and her children’s address to their abuser despite being members of the address confidentiality program and if not she will new placed in jail. Also, this mother was threatened to be placed in jail and her children in foster care if she dared file a motion to court while zero motions from her were heard. They even stole her home and put an order in to auction the home of her and her children when she had never seen the order, waived her signature, held the order, and when the order magically appeared and she tried to appeal, the judge stopped the appeal. They also garnished child support to the children to pay the GAL and told the mom to sell an alpaca to pay the GAL instead of reviewing income. Judge Gill refused to give child support under the law out of judicial retaliation and pulled support from the children. When I’m in office I’ll introduce legislation to make sure there is transparency and judicial oversight. Who is fighting for our families? They have no voice. Judges know they can do as they please, and yes, they can be bought and are for sale in Virginia. There is child trafficking and judges taking homes in litigation and buying them at auction through secondary parties. Who will stand with me to bring justice to Virginia courts? Please remove Judge Gill. He and Judge Sharrett have been exposed nationally and globally with 30 million hits. The corruption in our family and civil courts has been exposed. I had people from across the nation and Canada call the AG office with NO response. Please help. Remove Judge Gill. Let’s take back our courts and protect our most important asset, our children, our families, our home. Kimberly Lowe. VA’s 75th House of Delegates 2021
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I am writing you about House Bill 1532, which increases the sentence credits inmates can earn for good behavior. I strongly support this bill but take issue with the amendment added just before it was tabled last session, which makes ineligible those convicted of the offenses of child pornography possession and distribution. The use of child porn is vile and immoral, but it does not directly or deliberately harm anyone, and CP possession and distribution are not categorized as violent sex offenses in Virginia statutes. (To be clear, we are not talking about CP production, which does abuse children in horrible ways.) However, the crimes of child porn possession and distribution often receive extremely lengthy sentences. For instance, in January, 2018 in Harrisonburg a man received a 170 year prison sentence following a jury trial for CP distribution (meaning he downloaded CP from the internet using peer-to-peer software which allows images to be transferred, thus “distributed”). I am familiar with the case of a young man who received a sentence of 10 years on a plea deal and have also read of many cases reported in newspapers of men receiving sentences of 5, 10, 15 years for these offenses. In none of these cases was there any allegation of directly abusing or planning to abuse anyone. By comparison, ten years is the mandatory maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter, where someone has actually been killed. I estimate that there are numerous men incarcerated for these offenses – probably many hundreds, and they deserve a chance to earn the increased “good time” credits. Making all these exclusions will have a financial impact. If these men are not a threat to society then it is a significant waste of taxpayer money to incarcerate them with such lengthy sentences if they demonstrate good behavior and a desire to return to being productive members of society. If it is necessary to have any exclusions at all, perhaps you could suggest a different statute to define the offenses to be excluded from the benefits of this bill – one that does not include the offenses of child pornography possession and distribution. A possibility would be the statute which defines sexually violent offenses for the purpose of the Sex Offender Registry (9.1 - 902 subsection E – or, as of July 1, 2020, those that are defined as Tier III of the Sex Offender Registry).
My brother has been locked up since he was 18 years old
I SUPPORT THIS BILL
I SUPPORT THIS BILL
I SUPPORT THIS BILL
I am appalled and ashamed of the constraints put upon our men and women of valor who are “employed” by the. Citizens of Chesterfield County to defend and protect the citizens of our county. These men and women sacrifice SO MUCH to protect and defend us...can’t we, as citizens of CC support each and every one of out illustrious la2 enforcement agents...who are also individual people, like you and me!
I am for this bill let my father be able to come home
I am for this bill to be passed Thank you Alisha Colmes
I am for this bill. Everyone deserves a chance to earn good tome and be able to return to Society Thank you Jennifer Carter
Hello .. to whomever is reading this to take the time to review my brother Derek Stephens case he was Locked up at 18 he is now 29 my brother has been an outstanding example of time can change a person ..
I am a white, long-time resident of Charlottesville. I attend meetings concerning public housing residents' services, security, and safety and the redevelopment of their housing. What matters most to me is trust. To build trust, civilian review boards are vital. Trust is critical for effective relationships between police and citizenry, especially in light of studies over the years of so-called stop-and -frisk and juvenile and adult disproportionate minority contact. Trust-building takes a long time and more money than is normally allocated. That is a history needing to change. To build trust, civilian review boards are needed with bylaws and ordinance such as the model created by the initial CRB in Charlottesville in July 2019. That model comprises: * a board with the independence, authority and funding necessary to review complaints, to conduct investigations, and to have access to documentation and data; * the assistance of a director and a research assistant for oversight; * funding equal to 1% of the Police Department's budget; and * transparency. The intent is to improve community-police relations through systemic change.
Good morning or Afternoon Thank you so much for this opportunity for our voices to be heard or read! I’m going to Keep This short and say I support Raising the Good Time Earning Credits and hope you will also, this is truly a way to give people behind our prison walls hope, to give them a chance to EARN the ability to come home to family members sooner! And since they have to EARN it, it will also make for safe prisons, but work environments for the Correctional Officers and other workers! At the same time it will not apply to those that are currently not trying to truly change! I hope you and your loved ones stay safe! Thank you Frances Ross
I as a registered voter do request NO CHANGE for law enforcement to be in schools......I beleive the time is of up-most important to keep officers in schools as a deterrent to bad behavior and/or child safety......Thank You, Manuel Lam
As an unarmed citizen I depend on local and state police to maintain order and enforce duly enacted laws. All right-minded people decry unnecessary violence but do not see "defunding" as a reasonable response. I suggest a "progressive discipline" policy be adopted in which police misbehavior is met with a reprimand. Accumulating 3 (say) within two years (say) should result in dismissal. It is unfair to put police at risk of harm by deranged law-breakers when the government has not provided ample and proper mental treatment. In this regard I make note of the constant complaint of too few facilities for treatment either in hospital or out-patient. THIS is the funding that should be addressed! Respectfully, D. B. Powell Williamsburg, Va
As the committee considers Justice and Public Safety reform, the development of Civilian Review Boards for every jurisdiction will be discussed. I feel that it is imperative that the follow criteria be incorporated: 1. Every panel should have diverse and representative representation. This should include women, people of color and religious minorities. 2. Members should not be elected, but should be appointed. Elections will restrict low income community participation, excluding the very perspective most needed. Elections costs money, as you all are well aware. 3. Panels should be completely autonomous from the jurisdiction's attorney and should have independent legal counsel. 4. Panels should be completely independent and autonomous from the jurisdiction's police department or sheriff's office. 5. Panels should be housed separately from the police department, unless otherwise prohibitive. 6. The public should be aware that they have the right to make complaints to the Civilian Review Panel without fear of retribution. 7. Every Panel should have the capability to suggest corrective measures and use subpoena power as needed. 8. Every Panel should have access to the record of officers when investigating complaints. 9. Every Panel should have tracking methods to maintain historic records of complaints and resolutions against officers. Thank you for your consideration and work to improve the lives of all Virginians.
I an in favor of passing the Earned Good Time Bill and with a loved one of mine incarcerated i would like to see that bill passed!
Please pass Bill 1532 to increase “earned sentence credits” for nonviolent prisoners; authorize home incarceration or work release. Many people, particularly those of color, are incarcerated unfairly; many receive sentences beyond recommendations in presentence and psychological reports. Mediocre judges are influenced by crony courthouse personnel and succumb to uncompromising, win-at-all-costs prosecutors. Decisions are made before anyone enters the courtroom, especially when defendants hire outside attorneys. This bill is doubly important now with prisoners’ exposure and contracting of COVID-19. The Commonwealth and DOC are solely responsible for the safeguarding and well-being of prisoners. The Governor’s mandate for DOC to release 2,000 prisoners to reduce the population and protect them has FAILED; only 382 from DOC facilities and 189 from local jails have been released. Thirteen prisoners have died of COVID-19 and 1,825 prisoners and 113 staff members have had COVID-19; active cases are 294, and safe-distancing is unattainable. It took a lawsuit for DOC to post the daily number of COVID-19 cases on its website. When a person dies, no narrative is given; after scrolling down many pages, we find the numbers of cases, deaths, and those released. Ethnicity is not represented. During quarantine, prisoners are denied recreation and commissary and given emergency rations. Those who test positive and sick are isolated for weeks, often without air conditioning, recreation, and reading material; showers are twice a week. Guards have wide discretion and free to punish everybody for anything anybody does. Family visitation has been cancelled for months, and errors in prisoner release calculations are routine.
3rd. Since police officers have the responsibility to return home to their families every night safely, they need as many options as possible to subdue criminal behavior in both non-lethal and lethal forms. Many times, either during an arrest or after an arrest suspects suffer trauma which has been the driving factor behind recent demonstrations. Many occasions simple immobilizing techniques could be used that are common in self-defense and martial arts. These require additional training 4th. Elimination of restrictions on the concealed carry of firearms so that law abiding citizens may have the ability to defend themselves. This should be reviewed for the restrictions which limit access to personal firearms especially since the current laws restrict minorities and poor from obtaining permits and elimination of gun free zones to permit holders. One suggestion is offer training at no charge as well as permitting at no charge. Additional law-abiding citizens carrying firearms has proven to deter crime of all types. 5th. I am very concerned with some recommending social workers and employees of municipalities be used for domestic cases and traffic stops. Often these calls and stops turn violent and without proper training and protection these social workers or employees may be injured or killed. While it may seem like de funding our law enforcement may solve the problems with "police brutality" it will result in more crime at all levels. Our police have evolved to their current level to counter the criminal elements evolution. So, we need to address the real problem, the criminal! Until the deck is stacked against the criminal element at all levels, we cannot afford to let down our guard.
Recently we have seen firsthand what happens with the absence of a police force in the CHOP zone which resulted in the violent death of a young man. Our society cannot function with some form of law and order enforcement in times where criminals prey on the vulnerable. We have many law-abiding citizens that may not be able to obtain the means to defend themselves against criminals of all forms ranging from identity theft to violent crimes resulting in injury or death. Typically, these individuals are either poor or within the minority groups. De funding their only source of protection is completely irresponsible on behalf of society and must not be considered! Yes, there are areas within law enforcement that need to be addressed. 1st. the militarist look of the police force does alarm many. Police should revert to the same uniform they wear daily when confronting critical situations. With that they should have critical safety protection like the Va State Police bullet proof shirt that looks like the daily service uniform. 2nd. School resource officers need to be in place but not there to enforce discipline by arresting common fist fighters for assault. These officers need to be there to educate students on the function of the police as a mentor and for the safety of the student body.
I don’t want to see School Resource Officers (SROs) taken away from our schools. They play a valuable role in helping to keep our schools and kids safe. No one wants to see more school shootings and I firmly believe that if these officers are removed it sends a signal to ANY bad elements that our kids are sitting ducks. Response times should not all our schools have to rely on for help. It makes no sense to remove these officers who can offer additional help to our schools. It certainly should not be a funding issue as I’m sure there are parents, retired police & military, and others who would take shifts and do this job for NO pay knowing it would help keep our kids safer. Defunding (redistributing or whatever you want to call it) our police in Richmond or elsewhere in our state is too ridiculous to even consider unless you want to see crime rates go up. Just look at NYC; they got rid of their plainclothes anti-crime unit and boom! Crime through the roof and, wait till the effects of the 1 BILLION defunding kicks in! Richmond recently has been a hot seat for violence and criminal mayhem, OWN it (it used to be a great place for tourism for people from all over the world but you can forget those tourism dollars now). People won’t go where they don’t feel SAFE and where there is nothing to see anymore and I don’t blame them. Lastly, in all fairness to police officers in our state who put their lives on the line every time they go on duty (and for pay that certainly doesn’t equal the risk) there shouldn’t even be the THOUGHT of decreasing penalties for ASSAULTING a police officer. They need protection TOO and to reduce penalties for ASSAULTING them would lessen the incentive for NOT assaulting them.
Please don’t cut the budget for the police. I would be in favor of actually increasing budget for the police so they can make better salaries and their ability to recruit is not hindered. The vast majority of police women and men serve our communities with excellence, sacrifice their lives / well-being so we can all feel safe (they run towards danger) and they serve as role models for the youth. I know the media draws attention to instances when lives are lost or someone is not treated with dignity while in police custody and I am glad the media calls that out. With equal measure.... the media should also highlight every instance of when police personnel on the job or when they are not treated with dignity. If we cut police budgets and/ or put more restrictions on the police, there will be more lawlessness, anarchy, and communities will not be safe because the very EVIL in our society will operate without consequences.
Chairpersons of the Joint Committee Meeting of Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees of the Virginia General Assembly & members: SALT’s 1300 members thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important Criminal Justice issue.. There is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will. SALT recommends state legislators pass legislation that would block such tactics. Title: Limitations on Use of Federal Law Enforcement Officers (for Crowd control) in Virginia Specifically, our proposed legislation would (a) require individual & agency identification on uniforms of officers & prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests, (b) limit federal agents' crowd control activities to federal property & its immediate vicinity, unless specifically requested by both the mayor & governor, (c) require disclosure on agency website within 24 hours of deployment, and (d) make arrests in violation of these rules unlawful. This isn’t just an Oregon crisis. It's an American and a Virginia problem. It needs to stop before this spreads. Virginia needs to be the first state to step in and prohibit this outrageous practice. John Horejsi, Coordinator Social Action Linking Together (SALT) firstname.lastname@example.org 703-255-7074
As citizens of Virginia and in conjunction with the state-wide social action organization Social Action Linking Together (SALT), we are writing to urge the Virginia General Assembly to pass prison reform legislation that (1) eliminates Virginia private prisons, (2) eliminates medical co-pays for prisoners, and (3) stipulates paying a reasonable wage for mandated prison labor. Detailed support for our advocacy of these actions can be found at the following website locations: Elimination of Virginia Private Prisons: https://s-a-l-t.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=251:eliminating-virginia-private-prisons-fact-sheet&catid=2:uncategorised Elimination of Medical Co-Pays for Prisoners: https://www.s-a-l-t.org/images/Medical_Co-Pays_for_Incarcerated_003.pdf Pay a Reasonable Wage for Mandated Prison Labor: https://www.s-a-l-t.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=163:salt-prison-pay-fact-sheet&catid=2:uncategorised Thank you for your consideration and positive action on these important matters. Eugene and Joan Kelly (Mr. & Mrs.) Springfield, VA
I strongly oppose this bill which will lower to a misdemeanor for assaulting a police officer or first responder. We have to hold a standard of authority. You will find ambulance and firefighters will not go in some areas unless they have police assistance. If this standard is lower it is certain it will slow the response time in some life threatening events.
I am writing to express my support for serious police reform in the State of Virginia. I wanted to share what the Human Rights Campaign and 400 other organizations are outlining as federal reforms, and believe that each of these items should be adopted in Virginia. They are outlined here: https://www.hrc.org/blog/human-rights-campaign-joins-letter-calling-for-police-reform Our police should not be militarized, and they should NOT be above the law. Racial profiling and racist policing, as well as mass incarceration for small offenses is both racist and has been unraveling communities and families for generations. Please take up reform now. We as a people will be safer when we are not threatened by the police that are there to protect us. Sincerely, Kristin Adolfson
I am very strongly opposed de funding the police and other law enforcement organization especially in this trouble times of civil unrest.
I am very strongly opposed de funding the police and other law enforcement organization especially in this trouble times of civil unrest.
The recent fad to "defund the police" is nothing less than an attempt by enemies of the United States to remove the stability caused by effective law enforcement. Effective law enforcement is the only thing keeping civilization from devolving into chaos. California has proven this. Seattle has proven this. Minneapolis has proven this. Portland is a glowing example of this. The only thing that stops common thugs from assaulting law enforcement is the fear of the consequences. Downgrading the severity of punishment for assaulting law enforcement will only encourage violence. I realize this chaos and escalation in violence is exactly what democrats want but it is not in the best interest of the citizens of the United States nor the democrat politicians who think they will reap the rewards of the violence. In Seattle, the democrat mayor only took action to curb the lawlessness once the rioters and thugs set foot outside her walled mansion. Luckily for her, the Seattle law enforcement was still a viable force. Downgrading the punishment for assaulting law enforcement may well result in massive numbers of law enforcement leaving the service or ignoring calls for help from besieged politicians who voted to reduce the value of the lives of law enforcement personnel. Businesses flee the aforementioned cities. The trucking industry has strongly advised drivers to NOT deliver to cities without effective law enforcement. And without effective law enforcement, democrat politicians have no shield between them and armed patriot groups which are made up mostly of members who are also the National Guardsmen said politicians would call on to keep democrats in power. Do you want to chance such a slippery slope?
I was informed that statements I offered previously were not included in the written statements provided to legislators: Please speak up and out about the unconstitutional occupying federal forces and to promise to not allow it to happen here. Please re-examine the role policing will take in the future and how other agencies and professions such as social workers can fill roles more effectively when answering calls of the community. Please stop the fearful victimization of the police force. Living and working from a fearful stance while being armed and wearing body armor is not conducive to trusting the community. Humanize the community as the departments would like the comm unity to humanize the badge. Please legalize marijuana and get rid of the boxes to check for security clearances that require the reporting of non-violent misdemeanors or drug related felonies. These are not directly proportionate in regards to moral turpitude. This can be something that keeps those victimized by the disparity in how these laws are actually applied and prosecuted. Please get rid of for profit systems. This is a foundation that is in place that sets the stage to incarcerate the masses instead of actually policing and rehabilitating offenders. The end goal for, for profit prisons is mass incarceration. Please acknowledge and publicly the disparity in the application of laws when it comes to our sisters and brothers of color. Please acknowledge that use of force in policing is an outdated tactic and better ways to serve the community are needed and available. Please be a leader in the new civil rights movement and lead by rebuilding policing from the ground up.
My loved one has been away now 14 years, he was 17 and he was a child. He is now 30 years old and needs to be with his family especially with the way the world is now. We make mistakes when we are not guided properly. He made the biggest mistake of his life and has been locked away long enough. The problem with the system is that sometimes the law does not get updated or reviewed as times change, instead of making a person who has been locked up most of their life into a animal let them have another chance at life to show that they are human beings that has family who love them as well.
We feel that there is no need for so called "Police Reform". They are doing their job. One that almost no one else could do on a day in day, out job, handling the bad law breaking people. Let them do their job.......Don't restrict with "feel good" laws that will not help to protect the police. So they can protect law abiding citizens.
As Chairwoman Herring noted at the opening of today's (July 22, 2020) public hearing, there is a concern regarding interactions between the police and citizens at traffic stops. One part of the solution to the problem does not require changing the Virginia Code. Instead, there is a partial solution with the enhanced use of technology already authorized by the Code in the form of photo red and photo speed cameras. As you may know, when a violation occurs, these cameras take pictures of offenders’ license plates. After a sworn police officer reviews the picture and certifies it as a true offense, notice of a non-moving violation fine is sent to the registered owner of the car. This technology dramatically reduces the need for actual traffic stops. The technology is color blind. (e.g. the camera does not know the race of the driver. The car is either speeding or it is not. It is either running a red light or it is not). It increases safety of police officers who do not have to risk being hit by passing traffic. It increases availability of police for more pressing matters. It saves millions upon millions spent by government to enforce mere traffic laws. It can be done without cost to the government as many vendors install these systems with no up-front cost.
As a resident of Leesburg, a Local nurse, and outstanding member of my community, with a spotless background, I found myself in criminal court defending against an absurd charge of “assault” against my teen. It took over a year for this to play out. My children were afraid “mommy would go to jail” the whole time. Prosecutors need to stop prosecuting petty cases like mine last year and stop wasting their resources. The expungement took a full year to be confirmed as completed from the expungement division I was told that prosecutors will prosecute any case they can to increase their percentage of wins, which gets them more funding somehow. I don’t pretend to understand the financial aspects of this. But for the love of God, a justice system motivated by percentage of wins and money is a system that has lost its way. The criminal system has to stop financially rewarding and incentivizing the over prosecution of petty cases. Expungement timelines should take less than 2 months max to be completed for background checks. Anytime a child, especially a disabled child, is asked to testify against a parent? Get a child welfare representative involved in the case. Very traumatic experience for them. I’m hopeful Buta Buttigieg will lead the way to these necessary changes. It’s the campaign she ran on and won.
I see in the paper that the House of Delegates will hold a hearing on police reform in a special session Wednesday, July 22nd and again on Wednesday, July 29th. I will not be able to attend but would highly recommend that you "do not vote to defund the police in the state of Virginia". We need the police in the state of Virginia to serve and protect by keeping "law and order" and not let criminals take over our government. I personally believe that is what "black lives matter" is all about! Without proper funding the law abiding citizens in the state of Virginia and the USA for that matter, will suffer. I would like to remind you that "all lives matter" and "black lives matter" is discriminatory and unconstitutional. I believe that police officers have the right to protect themselves from the enemy (criminals) just like our armed forces have the right to protect themselves from our enemies around the world, however, I believe that they (the police) should maim the victim in order to apprehend them and do not shoot to kill. I realize that sometimes the police officer only has a few seconds to react when being attacked. I urge you to do the right thing and vote to save our police system not to destroy it. Thank you.
Body cameras, dashboard cameras, bans on certain holds, extensive and expensive training, all of these are reforms that have been implemented at great expense to Virginia residents and still the police harass, jail, maim, and kill large numbers of Black and Indigenous People of Color with impunity.Reform is not enough. These systems and organizations provably cause harm. They provably enforce laws with an arbitrary and racial bias. Why then, is the Commonwealth of Virginia spending the money of its residents on them? The budgets for these functions should be slashed if not outright eliminated as soon as humanly possible. And in their place, a new vision of public safety should be implemented. It should look like the Marcus Alert System for those having mental health crises. It should look like unarmed social workers trained in de-escalation responding to domestic disputes. It should look like teams of public officials who will work with individuals in poverty to provide for their needs (monetary or material) instead of criminalizing them. It should look like providing permanent shelter for members of the community who go without instead of repeatedly driving them further and further away from sight in hopes that they will simply disappear. As members of the justice and public safety committees, and elected officials, it is your sworn duty to enact our vision for what public safety looks like, what it can be, and what it will be. Public safety should look like a helping hand for those in need, and for those in crisis, and for those in danger. And For the most vulnerable among us. It should never look like an armed group who see themselves as soldiers shooting or jailing first and never asking questions.
Police/Criminal Justice Reform Comments: Chokeholds: Legislation prohibiting chokeholds should include exceptions wherein the officer's life is in imminent danger or the hold is inadvertently applied briefly & w/no serious injury to the suspect. The total ban of chokeholds w/out exception will lead to the prosecution/dismissal of officers who had no malicious intent to apply holds or did so in a last ditch effort to save their lives, rather than resort to deadly force. Use of Force: The federal government use of force policy is approved by DOJ. Virginia police agencies should operate under one use of force policy approved by the Attorney General. Failure to standardize policies will lead to unequal actions & outcomes, in similar circumstances, based solely on where rather than what happened. Assaults on Police: Assault should remain a felony, but only if there's serious physical injury to the officer. Legislation which fails to adequately hold suspects accountable for taking the offensive against police will only lead to more violence between suspects & officers and have the unintended consequence of justifying the escalation of the level of force used by officers. If we want to see more people shot by police, then minimize the consequences of assaulting police. No-Knock Warrants: Adequate oversight of justification for no-knock warrants by the Commonwealth's Attorney & Attorney General can ensure appropriate use of no-knock warrant clause in limited circumstances. Warnings: Legislation addressing verbally announcing imminent use of deadly force by officers should consider that no two incidents are alike. Sometimes, officers literally have no option but to drop everything and shoot.
Do not decrease the assault of a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor.
I am a citizen of Portsmouth and I DO NOT support decreasing the assault of a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor!!!! Good grief. Have some common sense. This is completely ridiculous. The majority of Virginians DO NOT support this! As citizens we need and want law and order. Thank you, Helen Stovall
Do not reduce charges for assaulting a police officer to a misdeameanor. Look at cities that have no control, Chicago, Baltimore, Portland … is that what you want for Virginia? If you do, then you are not a person who values the law, our constitution and our history. I am disgusted we are evening considering such a step. Why don't you start being concerned about the people who do not have time to riot, that go to work everyday, worry about the safety of their families … instead of those who bring the violence to our communities. Why not make a law outside organizations cannot bring in rioters that instigate hate and just make matters worse? I am totally disgusted by our State Government.
The rule of law is only as good as the authority to uphold that law. Diminish respect for law enforcement and you diminish the rule of law. The consequences are clear. You need look no further than Portland, Oregon. A city in chaos. Placing a serious penalty on those that would assault an officer of the law sends a clear message that our rule of law and our law enforcement must be respected. If you reduce the penalty, you reduce the importance of our rule of law. Instead of considering the removal of SROs from our public school, consider providing our students with a course on what behavior is appropriate when engaging an officer of the law. This would include a segment on how officers will engage citizens. Finally, law enforcement standards and certifications are clearly necessary and they should be consistent throughout the U.S. Cutting budgets or moving money from policing to other agencies will simply give law enforcement less resources to do their job. The consequences of taking financial resources away from law enforcement will be less law enforcement. Instead, provide additional sums to train up our law enforcement and achieve a standard of behavior that everyone will be proud of. Our law enforcement should be thanked and supported by our citizens. They are our neighbors and friends. They want the same good neighborhoods we all want. We all want the same things. As legislators, you gave an oath to service and protect. You are part of the rule of law. Enhance the rule of law, don't diminish it. And, thank you for your service.
The sheer stupidity of our so called elected REPRESENTATIVES of the people of VA governing as a communistic gang is unbelievable. All assaults on police (regardless of race or gender) should remain as a legal felony and NOT reduced to a misdemeanor charge. In a country of rule of law and order, the respect and personal safety of all public service protective personnel should be defended and supported by the chain of command.
I think that de-classification of assault and battery of an officer never pass as formal judiciary action. First of all, Officers are even held accountable for their and not having their back legally would de-value the law enforcement officer. Besides what about Correction Officers and the Offender sometimes charges is a positive reinforcement only behavioral modification that keeps the Officer safe. If you want minimize excessive force then re-enact “ Don’t shoot to Kill. “
Greetings: Thank you for taking the time to speak and think on issues surrounding the safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia; however, I don't think it's necessary. From what I've experienced, there's nothing that needs to be changed in regards to police procedure and operation. At every turn, I have been treated with respect by our officers in VA save for a time I ignorantly escalated a situation. If a problem with safety or law enforcement is as widespread and as urgent as current events suggest, then I don't understand how I could have been excluded from this mistreatment. I can say this is the testimony of my entire immediate family and they share my confusion. If anything is to be done, I suggest three things: - Listen to the officers and other personnel who must interact with the public and enforcement of law on a day-to-day basis. They're the best resource as their information pool is much larger than the average citizen. - Encourage the search for truth from all contributors to this discussion and implementation. Don't be swayed by hyperbole or one-sided anecdote. - Don't be hasty. If anything is to be done correctly, it must be analyzed thoroughly. Our society is in a rush needlessly when problems don't appear in a rush. Most things have arrived at their current state through a slow progress. They must be reversed and/or evaluated in the same manner. Thank you for taking the time to read my comments and I hope you take time to heed them.
Common Sense says that removing laws and/or law enforcement and decreasing penalties will cause an increase in lawlessness. Common sense doesn't just say this; statistics show this. The facts are that in every city where the police are being defunded, crime rates are up - Chicago, NYC, Seattle. Contrary to what many people believe, human beings are innately sinful - we are full of pride and selfishness. We will do whatever it takes to promote self. The law and our Police officers are a deterrent to that. They provide a line which many people will not cross because of the consequences. If there are no longer any consequences, or very few, people will choose to try to "get away" with more and more. Are you really willing to turn Virginia into the "wild west"? This is ludicrous! Stop following the agenda of a Marxist group that is trying to destroy this great country. Think for yourselves and think for your constituents - ALL of us - especially those who contribute by working, paying taxes, and obeying the law. And think of the law enforcement officers who have worked hard for years and years to protect you and me and all Virginians. DO NOT DECREASE PENALTIES FOR ASSAULTING A POLICE OFFICER DO NOT REMOVE SRO's , LEAVING OUR SCHOOLS COMPLETELY UNPROTECTED DO NOT DEFUND THE RICHMOND POLICE
I am writing to ask the committee to support an overhaul of the criminal justice system in Virginia. I support the following measures advocated by Justice Forward Virginia: -End pretextual policing -Enact an authorizing statute permitting localities to start robust civilian oversight of law enforcement, with auditing authority and subpoena power. In tandem, repeal the current state grievance procedure that privileges law enforcement. -Legalize marijuana -Remove police from schools -Give defendants a choice about jury sentencing -Repeal all mandatory minimums, not just for nonviolent offenses, but all offenses—especially the assault on law enforcement statute
I am a concerned citizen who feels patiently about seeing systematic change within the commonwealth. Thank you for allowing time to have these important and much needed discussions.
We need to support our police not degrade them. If a person harms a police office it needs to be a felony
Chairpersons Hope and Herring: The Alliance for a Progressive Virginia supports the following measures: Demilitarization of Police forces Community Review Boards with subpoena power Requirement for officers to intervine Transparency in reporting of incidents involving use of excessive force Establishment of a database of incidents and officer dismissals State and local implementation of a mental health crisis alert system that deescalates contact between police and nonviolent citizens A systemic reexamination of hiring and recruiting A system wide re-evaluation of policing techniques with an emphasis on conflict resolution and de-escalation
Why would anyone want to put their lives on the line as a law enforcement officer, to protect citizens, knowing that criminals will only get a misdemeanor for assaulting them. Why wouldn’t you, our lawmakers, be doing everything possible to PROTECT our law enforcement, knowing they risk their lives every day for us? What is the goal of this bill? Criminals will know they have nothing to lose by fighting an officer - we will have more violence. That must be the goal of the Democratic lead GA - ultimately converting is to communism.
Please do not defund the police department. The monies should be spent on Police training, racial relationship training, community and sensitivity training, and other training to further enhanced police education degrees and certificates.
Hi, my name is Nora Dell and I support the reimagining police package and want to make clear that words of support of Black Americans from my legislator are not enough. As a 23 year old white American, my first experience with police brutality and misuse of force has been these protests. I have witnessed my peers being gassed, beaten, held in holding cells by the police without masks or social distancing - and in one case, put in solitary confinement for the "infraction" of needing to change a tampon. I am deeply ashamed of my country at this moment. We must stop the unjust criminalization of Black Americans - we must pursue real, meaningful policy change in pursuit of racial justice. We must move toward a country that actually carries out the values it espouses. On this, Virginia must lead. We must build a better state. I urge you, our leaders, to find the courage to make these reforms, that go beyond painting pretty letters on a street, or taking down a monument. As your constituent, I strongly urge you to vote "yes" to the following, real, reforms: 1) End Police Militarization 2) Enforce police accountability by ending qualified immunity and expanding decertification grounds. 3) Reduce racist interactions with the police by removing police from schools, reversing “Blue lives matter” laws, and stop racist pre-textual stops 4) Allow Civilian oversight including Civilian Review Boards to have FOIA and subpoena powers. 5) invest in community based solutions like the “Marcus Alert”. 6) Implement restorative justice programs in schools. 7) Legalize Marijuana. 8) Repeal all mandatory minimums These changes require deliberate action from our lawmakers and there is no time to waste. Thank you.
Law enforcement is a thankless job and performed by dedicated individuals clearly not in it for the money. No matter how they handle a given situation it is always wrong and investigated. It is my understanding that police recruiting and training facilities are woefully underpopulated now. This, not to mention morale, is easily understandable. We hear nothing but platitudes and questions, instead of support from city officials. Without law enforcement we have anarchy. Our officers have been emasculated by mayors and governs while rioters demand their departments be defunded. This is ironic given that stand down orders have essentially achieved the same end result. I would like to know who a “protester” plans to call when a crazed opponent tries to kick their door in and burn their house down. Allow our police to carry out their duties. Arrest lawbreakers, charge them accordingly and sentence them in court. There is a bad apple in every bushel, don’t hamstring an entire force because of it. As a Richmond taxpayer, I suggest increasing police department funding. Cris Traywick Richmond, VA
I am not in favor of reducing police funding, punishment for assaulting our officers and also removal of Officers from schools. I think this merely sets our children up to be harmed as has occurred in Colorado several times. If it came down to financial reduction, then remove them from schools first. Do not defund our officers. The dollars saved from school protection could pay for additional police training. Why set Virginia up for violence we have seen in other states. We have already seen destruction in Richmond. I hate to see more of this. Violence WILL occur and is occurring . Our citizens deserve to be protected!! Also by lowering the penalty for assaulting police officers...this does not gives offenders much of a deterrent. Let’s keep Virginia safe. Use Portland and other places as an example of what will happen here.
This is ridiculous to even consider changing that from a felony to a misdemeanor. We already have a generation of young folks that have no respect for our Police officers. Bad behavior on the part of our lawmakers is setting the tone for our younger generation to have no respect at all for anybody. You expect our police to respond when we are in trouble we need to protect our police. Stop worrying about appeasing the mob and start doing your job and protecting the residents of the state of Virginia which includes our police officers
Please institute the following changes in regard to policing and community safety in Virginia: -hold police officers accountable for their actions--give power to independent, non-partisan, citizen review bodies to investigate citizen complaints against police officers and take meaningful action against charged officers including public disclosure and sanctions up to removal and referral for prosecution. -redirect funding from police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs to citizens. -reassign duties that do not require military-model of policing for violent crimes to new community providers--ie. calls for service, traffic violations, mental health emergencies, noise ordinance violations -consult with Black citizens and leaders on how to create safety and justice for Black citizens in America and create a new system based on these recommendations. -move funding to provide for trained “community care workers” to respond to community issues related to mental-health, medical non-emergencies, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness. These would be workers with expertise in social work, psychology, substance abuse, mediation, deescalation and conflict resolution. - move funding to community restorative-justice models to treat at-risk youth and prevent re-offending and decrease rates of arrest and imprisonment of citizens. -move funding to substance abuse and addiction treatment for at-risk citizens. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.
Vote NO to reducing an assault on a police officer to a misdemeanor. They put their lives on the line for us every day they put on that uniform and they deserve our respect and support. Punishing the entire police force and putting their lives in even more danger for the bad actions of a few is ignorant and discriminatory.
I do not support the proposal to change the assault of law enforcement from a felony to a misdemeanor. If you do this, you will be making it open season on attacks on our law enforcement. Every officer hurt will be on your shoulders for allowing this to happen. Stand up now and stop this lunacy. We need to support our law enforcement who protect our communities and enforce our laws. We don't want to become like Chicago. We are a Commonwealth based on law and order. Our law enforcement are men and women that serve our communities locally & exhibit integrity and professionalism in exercising their duties. They have our backs, it is time to show that we have theirs. It is imperative that our citizens and our government support these brave officers. There is always a shortage in their rank. These people do not need to be unsupported by our government. They deserver our respect and support. They are greatly needed - especially today in this hostile environment. Stop making decisions on a 1 bad apple. Use common sense and listen to your citizens who want law and order in our communities. Support our law enforcement. Do NOT vote for this change. If you do - you are putting our law enforcement lives at risk. And if you do vote for it, you should also agree to give up all security detail for everyone from the Governor on down. None of you should have paid security. Put your own lives on the line like a vote for this law change would do to our police officers. Do Not support this change. Stand up for Virginia and Law and Order.
I am opposed to decreasing penalties for assaulting police officers. I am opposed to eliminating school resource officers. A very great majority of our law enforcement officers serve our communities with dedication, professionalism, and servants' hearts. Many good deeds of our law enforcement officers go unnoticed. They honorably protect and serve. The good ones do not like when the very few bad ones commit crimes. Better training is the most important issue with keeping law enforcement and the citizens safe. In regards to school resource officers, those officers are a positive part of the school community. They provide security to the schools. They establish relationships with students. I am in favor of supporting the law enforcement community that protects and serves our communities with great distinction.
Our law enforcement officers risk their lives everyday to protect ours. Please do not reduce the charge for assault of a police officer from a felony to misdemeanor. If we allow citizens to attack our police officers, we will have no one left to protect us. Please support these officers who keep us safe.
I am writing this statement on behalf of Shaquan Jamar Fallen a inmate at Lawrenceville correctional facility. He has been incarcerated since the age 17 and is now 25. His charge is wrongly accused and he took a plea deal by force. He is serving two sentence and the judge wouldn’t run the Concurrent . He has not been in any trouble since he been in prison and he is on the right trace to get home. Please reduce sentence. NOBODY SHOULD SERVE OVER 20 years to learn a 20 second mistake !! Thanks
Joint Committee Meeting of Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees: Before you all-knowing elitists decide to decrease police funding I suggest you actually walk through the communities that would be most affected and ask the citizens for whom you work how they feel about it. Perhaps the young radicals and drug dealers would like less police. But I can absolutely guarantee that the average law abiding families will insist that more, not less, police presence is needed. Decreasing police funding has to be one of the most ignorant suggestions ever made. What we need, besides more police presence in troubled communities, is more and better training for law enforcement officers. How can we provide that with LESS money? There are many things that can be done to decrease the tension between police and the citizens. First, stop making law enforcement out to be the bad guys. The statistics do not support the narrative that is driving the conversation. Second, law enforcement officers should patrol in the same area where they reside. This will help them connect better with the citizens and help engender a sense of trust for the police. Law Enforcement is critical. Well trained law enforcement is a must. Funding is required for both. Don't make the mistake of reducing funding. Wilke R Renwick
There is no systemic racism in our society. There are individuals in our society, some in police uniform and many not, who dislike others because of race, religion, etc.... There are instances of police brutality in our society, but they are overwhelmingly not racially motivated. I served as a Virginia State Police (VSP) Trooper from 1988 - 1993. I was well trained and led, in a department that had high, well enforced standards. I worked with some local officers who were not held to high standards. I saw inappropriate conduct that I knew were the result of poor funding, training, and leadership. When a department is poorly funded, it hires substandard officers, cuts corners on training, suffers from poor morale, and fails to retain its best people. Being a Trooper was my dream job, but Doug Wilder's budget cuts made it impossible for me to provide for my small family. Before I quit, my morale suffered because, pay, promotions, and hiring were frozen for years. As manpower reduced, working conditions, schedules, and morale worsened. We were required to accept compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay, but manpower was so low that we were not permitted to use the leave we earned. We do not need more rules. We need more funding and better training for police leaders. Localities choose or elect their own police chiefs and sheriffs. That is out of the State's control, but VSP could provide training for them; training that improves their morale, professionalism, and leadership. VSP could take on more of the training at the regional criminal justice academies. VSP is a quality organization. use it!!! The vast majority of blacks know they are being used by socialist revolutionaries and support quality policing.
My youngest son serves as a Virginia State Trooper. He is also a U.S. Marine who has served for the past 18 years and has served two years in Iraq. He has helped many others, including saving lives (even when off-duty). He has a loving wife and two sons, that want/need him to be safe and come home to them every day. I believe that law that advocates reducing assault of a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor will only exacerbate the problems we face in society and generate more disrespect for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By reducing this crime, we will knowing give credence to commit more violence, not just against law enforcement officers, but also against our citizens. We must promote law and order and respect for each other. Thanks for you service, Forrest Alan Vance Smithfield, Virginia
Need to add jurisdictions in Northern VA to tracking list. It’s not just cities and mayors. It’s also counties and county leadership., e.g. Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William counties.
Dear Members of the committee In recent months there has been an higher visibility of police abuse of authority specifically towards persons of color throughout our nation. As a concerned citizen, I care about the safety of our officers and those they interact with. I would like to show my support for a citizen lead team to review police incidents where anyone is harmed. I also support more active police worn cameras for the safety of our officers and citizens. It is my belief that just like service in the military the role of law enforcement means living up to a higher standard and hope that our officers agree that all officer adhere with great integrity to serve and protect every citizen. The other area I am concerned about relates but is also concerning and that is in profiling. While profiling can be a useful tool for an officers safety it should not be the cause of interacting with anyone differently during an investigation or traffic stop. Citizens are should always be given a higher level of respect than is expected from them. Lastly, any police shooting investigation should be done like any other shooting. The officer should be placed on paid leave and required to remain under supervision until an appropriate investigation can be completed and reviewed by the citizen led review panel. Thank you all for your service Robert LaRose - Independent voter - Virginia Beach
Do not change the charge of assaulting a policmen from a felony to a misdemeanor. This changed does not do anyone good except for the criminal. A change in this law we'll also endanger the lives of law abiding citizen. It appears to me that our government maybe trying to sow the seeds chaos.
It has been reported, that in the Past five years nearly 1/3 of felony assault on a law-enforcement officer charges have been reduced or dismissed That proves the law is working correctly, the prosecutors elected by the public are using sound decisions to vet out the ones worthy of a felony conviction To base a reduction of possible punishments on the amount of felony charges that are being reduced will create an implicit bias on prosecutors Will the defendant who justice demands a misdemeanor for a felony larceny because of prior store still get a misdemeanor? Or will the prosecutor have internal fear that their decision today will be used on the road to take away the felony larceny after priors law? The law as written works and the stats back that up
The primary function of government is to provide for the defense of its citizens. The police are a critical bullwark of that defense. If they are defunded, or restricted to the point that they can no longer safely do their job society will fall into chaos. Life and property will be lost. We need only look at New York to see the truth in this. You seek to address a problem that does not exist. Police departments are not racist. There are MANY officers of color. The chief of police in the city where George Floyd was killed is himself a black man. Furthermore, it has not even been proven that the Floyd killing was a racial issue. Even if it was, the officers involved have been charged and will be brought to justice. This entire issue is political. Many white people have been mistreated by police and blacks. Where is the outcry over that? There is none. A black life is worth no more or less than a white life. They are equal. By saying Black Lives matter, you are saying white lives do not. What you seek is not equality. Blacks have had that for many decades. What you seek is black supremecy over whites. That is not justice. It is hatred and hipocracy. I am a firm believer in equality, justice, and personal responsibility. The answer to police brutality is to punish the offending officer ~ not tear down the police force. I stand firmly in support of the police force, and I vehimently oppose any and all proposed actions against them -including racially biased protocols. Let the police do their job. Don't endanger them and don't endanger your voters.
We need to view this meeting...
As an elementary school teacher, I have seen the good relationship that is developed between officers in school. The children learn about a good career opportunity, about citizenship, and have the opportunity to develop a good relationship with a man. Many of the students have no other opportunity for a male role model. Certainly with all the talk about officers being with the community to develop familiarity and good relations, defunding is the exact opposite of what we have been working for during the past decade. Also, with the bill that has allowed an increase in Counselor’s time in the schools, this coordination between the 2 public servants is educational and emotionally sound. Defunding the police, reducing their numbers or hours goes counter to public safety and those who are in the cities (the poor and the minorities) are most at risk, particularly if the opportunity for citizens to have personal fire arms is removed by local government. Two ways for a person to be protected and to protect his family are then taken away. Being in Scottsville, I would also be at a higher risk not to be served in an emergency. I DO like the idea of Social Workers being added to the police staff, because often, their expertise is needed in some situations. Therefore, I see a need for greater funding rather than less.
Please stand against a federal force to occupy the cities and counties of our state and stand against the use elsewhere. Please look to rebuilding policing from the ground up. What should the future role of police resemble? Please look into the use of social workers when police are to deal with people with mental and physical disabilities, for domestic disputes, and when an officer feels threatened. Disarm the police force, living in body armor and with weapons daily leads someone to live in fear while serving their community. They want us to humanize the badge this does not allow them to humanize the community. Please put an end to for profit prisons Statewide. This does nothing but add to the revenue stream of the state. People are funneled in and with great disparity to our sisters and brothers of color. Please legalize marijuana and rid Virginia of all other Jim Crow era legislation aimed in doing nothing but oppression. Please look into removing non-violent misdemeanor questions in the pursuit of obtaining a security clearance. This is paramount as these security clearances require an answer to a felony or misdemeanor that may have been expunged or overturned. Not all charges are a reflection on the moral character of the person seeking to hold a clearance. With the disparity in arrests in and convictions of our sisters and brothers of color this continues to put them at a disadvantage. I beg the state to be a leader in this new civil rights movement. I wish nothing but this state to stand up with those being oppressed, speak out, and act in the direction of correcting the trajectory we have been set to so many years ago. Please institute a homestead act to keep us in housed.
There should be no decrease in the penalty for assaulting a police officer, because it is done all too often by criminals. If anything, the penalty should be increased so that lawbreakers will think twice before they resort to violence. We need school resource officers in our school buildings. How quickly we forget about the safety of our children. Actual peaceful protest should never be a problem. But when protests turn into riots and vandalism and burning down businesses that people have worked their whole life to build, we need more police presence and the perpetrators need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
We do need reform in policing but we also need to extend this to correctional officers. Transparency, accountability and independent oversight is long overdue in our prisons and jails.
Good morning. Considering the topic of Law enforcement policies, procedures, response, accreditation and certification, I think that it is important that citizens are aware of exactly what that all entails. Education is so highly important and in this moment, that proves to be all the more true. If citizens had the knowledge of what it actually takes to operate and maintain law enforcement, I believe it would help to mitigate some of the unsubstantiated fears of interaction between law enforcement and citizens. Furthermore, I believe that a new level of self accountability on both sides- the police departments and the citizens- will arise out of this. Transparency from all involved is needed to help bridge the gap of understanding. As a citizen, it is important to me to know how we can all work together to change the negative perception of law enforcement that has been engrained in the minds of some citizens. At such a critical time in our nation's history, it is my hope that we can all come together to change the course and land on a new level of trust and respect between our law enforcement and the citizens. Thank you.
As the executive branch of our federal government is overstepping its authority and imposing unjust practices on states, our leaders must take strong steps to protect the safety and security of ALL of our citizens and our democracy. Thank you for your service. Please institute the following changes in regard to policing and community safety in Virginia: -hold police officers accountable for their actions--give power to independent, non-partisan, citizen review bodies to investigate citizen complaints against police officers and take meaningful action against charged officers including public disclosure and sanctions up to removal and referral for prosecution. -redirect funding from police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs to citizens. -reassign duties that do not require military-model of policing for violent crimes to new community providers--ie. calls for service, traffic violations, mental health emergencies, noise ordinance violations -consult with Black citizens and leaders on how to create safety and justice for Black citizens in America and create a new system based on these recommendations. -move funding to provide for trained “community care workers” to respond to community issues related to mental-health, medical non-emergencies, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness. These would be workers with expertise in social work, psychology, substance abuse, mediation, deescalation and conflict resolution. - move funding to community restorative-justice models to treat at-risk youth and prevent re-offending and decrease rates of arrest and imprisonment of citizens. -move funding to substance abuse and addiction treatment for at-risk citizens
Please support our police officers. An assault of a police officer should remain a felony
Good morning, I am a registered and active voter in Albemarle County. I am writing to urge you to NOT support any policies that restrict our police in safely performing their duties. Specifically, please do NOT reduce the penalties for assaulting a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor without a minimum sentence. And please do NOT require them to exhaust all options before firing a shot, because when they are in a situation that is about to escalate into someone shooting at them, they must be able to read the situation and defend themselves in split seconds. If they have anything that makes them hesitate, their lives will be put in danger. Additionally, please do NOT cut ties with them in our Albemarle schools. Who else has the immediate force to be able to stop a school shooting, and who else is a threatening enough presence to deter criminals from preying on our children? The police require our trust in order to be able to keep us safe. There will always be corrupt police officers, just as there will always be corrupt judges, school principles, government employees, or any other civil servants. But the presence of an extreme minority of bad cops does not invalidate the countless thousands of good cops who are sacrificing their lives every day to keep us safe. Lastly, if we specifically have a problem in our county and city, let's fix it. But if there is no demonstrated problem of an overwhelming, demonstrable trend, I do not see the need to change our current system, apart from reviewing the current policies to make sure there are no gaps in procedure. Instead, we should seek to encourage our police during this difficult time when the entire nation is turning on them.
The law on the assualt of a police officer needs to stay as is , our police are humans with family and have chosen this career because they believe in the protection of the citizens in the area of their job. I pray any Democrats that vote to change this law are not the victim or your family members are not a victim of a violent crime or attack where a police officer is there to help.
I am strongly against reducing the adult of law enforcement to a misdemeanor.
Dear Sirs, It is my understanding from the information given that the above-referenced topics are to be discussed in these hearings. Virginia is now responding to the events of police brutality in Minneapolis and to the a certain segment of public response now happening in Virginia. If we are to resolve a problem, we must understand the problem. How will defunding the police make our communities safer, especially our minority communities which are historically more vulnerable to property and violent crimes? If for years, we have determined that SROs are needed in schools, why would we suddenly remove them when it is a fact that serious altercations, and, at times, crimes occur on the grounds of our schools. How will that make our schools safer--especially after having a lengthy run of school shootings in the country in prior years? No one seems to be addressing evidence emerging that the police union in Minneapolis may have provided a significant barrier to removing abusive police officers from its system. No seems to be addressing PTS in our police force or reviewing community policing for improved police and public relations. It appears that the pretext of "racism" is being used by a radical few who want to convert our representative government to something else. It also unfortunately appears that some officials in the Democratic party to include the Governor may have political reasons for appeasing the miscreants who have been burning buildings and cars and committing other property crimes in Richmond. If this is true, we should remember that those who practice appeasement are not well regarded either by the electorate or by history as was the case with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin of England.
As I read these topics I am to understand that a reduction of penalties for assaulting elected officials is included as well as a removal of security officers for elected officials. I was thinking parents could replace the school resource officers on a mandatory schedule at schools where their children are enrolled. Elected officials could provide for their own security but not at taxpayers expense. I'm not sure where common sense has gone today but it isn't evident in some of our local political leaders. If you do not hold people responsible, and this includes children then there is no reason to obey any of the laws or rules you put into effect. Quite evident on our streets/highways today and the posted stop signs and speed limits. But what do I know., I'm 79 years old, a retired military officer and former emergency services employee for the city of Norfolk. Not to mention years of project management for 2 software development companies. Listen to your President. He has good ideas that need to be implemented.
It is time to define the role of the police. So often calls to the police are for help they are not qualified to give. Maybe have different departments for mental health issues, crime issues, domestic violence, vandalism, and other areas so that personnel can be trained. Police do have roles but we need to stop the killing and the "military" tactics. This might require more funds, not less.
Please support our Police by not cutting their funding. Also, do not remove the School Resource officers. I feel that we citizens are much safer with Police to protect us than we would be on our own.
Prison/jail is suppose to be for rehabilitating people. Punishing people for sometime and hopefully if the person is receptive to change eventually getting to a point where that individual can have a second chance among society. With that being said, one of those considerations in a person being granted that second chance has to be their behavior and character within that punishment period. Good behavior showing a change and bad behavior showing no change. That is why I feel the need to support the Earned Good Time Bill in support of those inmates committed to improvement within themselves. Please allow those inmates the chance for improvement not only within themselves but also outside into society. I know of people who have gone to prison and came out the other side as a small business owner, contributing to society, making a better life for themselves and their families. I am asking for your consideration of this bill. Thank you
Need to weed out police who over-reinforce laws, regardless if involving physical force or not. My observations have been that some police have personalities/psychological issues leading toward such attitudes and behavior. Such persons should be filtered out in the hiring process, and if that is not successful, they need to be moved to administrative roles. The public needs an easy method to report such behavior, and a related method to understand the results of their report.
Police violence occurs in Fairfax County. An officer on June 5 deployed his taser against an unarmed nonviolent man, continuing his assault even after the man was face down on the ground. He has been charged with assault and battery. This is not just the case of one bad apple. We don’t have to go to the extreme of saying “all police are bad” (they aren't) to admit that there are systemic problems that need fixing. Fairfax police’s use of force disproportionately affects people of color. African Americans represent less than 10% of the county’s population, but they were targeted in about 45% of the use of force incidents. Disparity is not limited to excessive force; nor is it limited to black people. African Americans are arrested at a rate three times higher than their population percentage, Latinx at a rate two times higher. http://blueview.org/2020/06/15/fairfax-leaders-must-fix-police-bias-against-people-of-color/ Many fixes are needed, but a key one for accountability is a meaningful Civilian Review Board. We have one in Fairfax, but please don't use it as a model. It was a battle to get what we have, and County leaders get credit for acting. Yet: they insist it is independent. It is not. It can't investigate allegations; it simply reviews internal affairs findings. It has no authority to override them or recommend to the Board that it take action. It always ends up on the side of police--it has made procedural recommendations, but never disagreed with the police's ultimate findings. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/policecivilianreviewpanel/reports We urge you to clarify that CRBs should be truly independent, and given the tools and funding they need. A toothless CRB is window dressing, not real change.
Virginia Legislative Team, We need not overreact, like almost all governing bodies have done in the past in this country. I am sure that there are many laws in place today that can help guide the police. Manage the process! When an officer is out of line, like assaulting a suspect in custody, a slap on the wrist will not do. Do not defund them but train them! Reducing penalties for assaulting a police officer is wrong. We need adjustments not pendulum swings. I stand with our police. They have one of the toughest and thankless jobs on this planet. We are looking for training, stiffer penalties for out of line police officers, position firings for government officials who repeatedly do nothing, increase in salary, paid overtime for court appearances, and a larger pensions.
I would like to speak to the importance of these bills.
When I saw your email titled with "police reform" I knew I had to respond. As a nation we've been witnessing a marathon brutality and flagrant disregard for law and due process from the police. We've tried police reform for years. And nothing has happened but increases in the police budget. Anything short of defunding the police and a reallocation of that money into community resources is a refusal to acknowledge the problem and take legitimate measures to make a change. Appreciate all that you do Cia and thank you for listening.
I am disheartened by the treatment of young people protesting for basic human lives. They've been beaten and sprayed with harsh chemicals and worse. As a nation we are now praising John Lewis, but when he was beaten by police, many vilified him and said he had "asked for" that treatment by challenging the status quo. WE NEED TO REALIZE THAT MOST OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREETS OF VIRGINIA TODAY ARE DOING EXACTLY WHAT JOHN LEWIS AND HIS PEERS DID TO FORWARD THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE IN THIS COUNTRY. Virginia needs police, but we need for officers to be trained to de-escalate tense, dangerous situations. I have witnessed the opposite of skillful de-escalation in my hometown of Fredericksburg, Va., and in Richmond. Police officers should have more training before they can be on the streets. We should look at successful policing in such countries as Norway, which requires years of training to be an officer. We also need to de-militarize our police forces. There is no reason for our police to face peaceful protesters with riot gear, military weapons, and military vehicles. And, if young protesters make gestures and use unpleasant language, that does NOT warrant excessive force. Let's always start from a position of communication whenever possible. Today, we in Virginia and in the United States are not acting like a democracy, not upholding the promise of the constitution. We are acting like a police state, and this must end. I ask you, please, to stop this violent madness and restore the rights of the people to peacefully assemble, especially in the cause of equal rights and civil liberty.
Research shows policing failures are not about training or policing policies such as de-escalation, neck restraints. Most jurisdictions technically have those policies, they just aren’t always followed and incentives aren’t there to ensure the policies are followed. Two of the most important ways to hold police accountable are 1) removing the FOIA exemption for police disciplinary records, and 2) creating a statewide list of officers who’ve been disciplined and/or fired for inappropriate force or lying about evidence etc. to ensure they cannot just move to another area to work. And probably the most important is to limit where possible interactions between police and civilians. The laws and incentives need to line up with police focusing on *public safety* and not nuisances. Remove some of the pretext stops. Repeal laws like felony assault (with no injury) on law enforcement that are used mainly to upcharge and coerce plea deals. Change the incentives for police/prosecutors to overcharge. (Why is compensation to Commonwealth’s Attorneys based on felony charges and why is there a fee charged to the defendant for a charge being reduced to a misdemeanor?) Virginia ranks pretty low on police killings, and that’s a good thing. But it doesn’t mean people aren’t being hurt every day by some of Virginia’s draconian laws and the way they’re enforced. We’re in a great position to enact smart reforms without the added pressure of some huge newsmaking tragedy. I hope you take advantage of this unique moment of strong public support for such reforms to enact overdue changes! Thank you for all you do!
It is important to remember that the police are on the front lines. We must not do anything that makes them less safe as they protect us all. We should improve their training, equipment, and support, without making their job more difficult and less safe.
There is a lot of 'feeling' going on in this country and not much thinking. I certainly hope that this body is not among the non thinkers. Police are a critical part of a just society. They are responsible for gathering evidence for the people to prosecute those may have broken the law. What is particularly concerning is that the police are most needed in those communities that are the poorest. So when you decide to cut back funding for the police it is likely that those citizens will bear the brunt of crimes of opportunity. It is not unreasonable to consider better ways to deploy the police, but make certain that all the people are properly served and that their rights to justice are not reduced. Finally, School Resource Officers can be a valuable part of providing safety for our children, who are most vulnerable in today's school environment. Use your head and your heart!
I am in favor of the good time sentence credit My loved one is in St Bride Correctional Center suffering through COVID-19 along with almost 90 other men in his dormitory They have been having symptoms for WEEKS. And currently passing it back and forth to each other. Please HELP
Who will take responsibility for any mass shooting at a school where the SRO was removed? The obvious answer is the shooter but I am speaking to the decision of someone or some official legislative body removing the SRO. Will this decision maker be held accountable for remove the SRO line of defense? Can they be charged as an assessory?
Will there be any early release or information about the earned good time bill being passed due to the covid-19.
I am unable to attend in person but want to express my full support for the our police officers. I am against any reduction in penalties for assaulting a police officer. I am against defunding the police or cutting their budget and I am against removing SRO's from our schools. Thank you.
Whether or not defunding the police departments won’t change on officers outlook on citizens values. Mandating officers to engage more activism in communities. If and when an officer provides a citizen with a citation the judicial system should be more lenient to possibly dropping charges depending on the severity and occurrence committed by one. Virginia statewide mandating that all officers have a body camera and a vehicle camera at all times. Evaluating individual officers periodically. (Like any other citizen they may suffer some sort of mental illness, etc...) Enforcing amendment 13 without committing a crime to be allowed or involuntary to be treated as a slave. Abolish slavery once and for all!! Like police reform for our communities; maybe creating a budget for correctional center guards to follow some of the same precautions as officers; ex: body cams so that the treatment that is provided to prisoners are monitored. The way people are perceived or judged based solely on appearance, shouldn't be allowed when making a case deciding someone’s punishments. People should NOT be judged by their race, sexual preferences, appearance as in clothing tattoos hair color make up hair style etc. Stereotyping someone on height, weight, skin tone, or anything else needs to end. Don’t speak it act on it! Equality sentencing procedures upon actual guidelines statewide. Defendants with no criminal history should have more leniency on sentencing verses a defendant whose committed multiple crimes. Chances to appeal should be granted at any time. (Sometimes because of misrepresentation you have no choice but to deny an appeal) Proper rehabilitation for prisoners within their transfer to a correctional center.
I think it is a mistake to change the penalties for assaulting a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor. Defunding law enforcement is a mistake and only leaves law abiding citizens in jeopardy. More education is needed for the police on how to deal with public interaction but more importantly the public needs to be educated on how they interact with law enforcement . Law enforcement needs to be treated with more respect by lawmakers and not allow outliers rule their decisions.
Earned Good time bill
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen: During the last couple months, we have seen video all too often of violent anarchists and looters who have infiltrated crowds of peaceful protesters. When confronted by police, their response has been to throw bottles and bricks at law enforcement and otherwise aggressively resist arrest. As bad as it has been, imagine how more often this lawless activity will increase once word gets out that the penalty for being caught is no longer a felony, but a mere misdemeanor. During these trying times, law enforcement officers need more support from public officials, not less. For the sake of an orderly society, please be a part of the solution and vote down these unhelpful proposals that would reduce the penalty for attacking law enforcement officers.
To members of the Virginia legislature: As a lifelong resident, taxpayer and voter of the Commonwealth I implore you to make no changes to the laws regarding our police officers in regard to funding except possibly to expand funding, NOT reductions. Also, anyone who assaults a police officer should always face felony charges, not misdemeanor. One thing that should be addressed is mental health assessments for all potential candidates as well as regular assessments for current officers. This should be required due to the extreme stresses of the job. Anything that cuts our law enforcement in any way will have detrimental consequences due to reduced morale, not to mention the reduced protection for people of the Commonwealth.
The intent of probation is to assist returning citizens in re-integration; however, probation officers routinely take every opportunity to re-incarcerate for technical probation violations, even omitting facts or misrepresenting the truth in court to insure probation is revoked. Nowhere is that more evident than for those convicted of sex offenses and returning to the community. Navigating the rules of probation alone is a struggle, and with the additional burdens of the registry, re-incarceration occurs frequently not due to new offenses, but for actions that are perfectly legal for the rest of society. Those civilly committed as SVPs, although they have completed prison sentences, are also policed by probation and tracked by GPS monitors, monitored by polygraphs, and severely limited in terms of residency and job restrictions all determined without oversight by probation. One minor violation, rarely if ever related to a sexual offense, results in indefinite confinement at VCBR only to repeat a "treatment" regime widely available in the community. It's time for the Commonwealth to embrace the intended use of probation as meaningful restoration for ALL returning citizens, and provide training and oversight so that probation officers are held accountable for the success of their clients, not police them back into prison or jail. And probation, which is solely the back-end of policing in Virginia, should have no role in the supervision of those citizens not under the control of VADOC , which would apply to the people released from VCBR.
I would like the earned good time Bill passed now.
The Democratic Party of Virginia is sending a loud and clear message to this state about its fundamental belief: Black Lives Don't Matter. The results of these asinine proposals are maddeningly predictable: less aggressive policing, more violent crime, more urban decay, more business flight from Richmond's inner core, more educational chaos and failure. No doubt a few years from now some of the same Democratic politicians will survey the resultant wreckage and carnage and blame it all on systemic racism. God help us all.
End bail. Zero tolerance for Police officers that use exclusive force. You allow it to happen, it keeps happening. Get rid of pretext laws (defective equipment, dangling objects, loud exhaust) I smell weed, high crime areas, nervousness. All subjective pretext, get rid of it. Jaywalking ... get rid of it
I ask that you vote NO on any proposal to reduce assault and battery of a law enforcement officer to a misdemeanor. We cannot ask law enforcement officers to protect us 24/7 and then minimize physical assaults against them for doing what we ask them to do. Reducing the assault to a misdemeanor will embolden certain individuals to resist and assault officers, resulting in MORE incidents of officers using force to a)defend themselves and b)complete their lawful arrest. Adopting this proposal ultimately will exacerbate the need for officers to use force, as some are deterred from assaulting officers now because it is a felony. Law enforcement officers deserve our respect and everything we can do to protect their personal safety. Also, consider the negative impact this would likely have on law enforcement agencies recruiting a diverse workforce as potential candidates see that our lawmakers codified a lack of concern for their safety by failing to discourage assault on law enforcement officers. If you chose to move forward with this horrible proposal, then paragraphs B and C should be deleted in their entirety. Virginia cannot punish assault on a judge, magistrate, correctional officer, firefighter, rescue squad worker, or assault on a person because of their because of their race, religious conviction, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin as a felony, while treating assault on a law enforcement officer as a misdemeanor. Thank you for your consideration.
I am writing as a concerned parent, mainly that decisions being made are being made for political gain instead of logic. As a moderate I sit in the middle on many issues, some I lean left, some right. To me resource officers in school isn’t political it’s common sense. My children are young and have many years left to go through the county schools. I am grateful that my financial position allows me to remove them should this decision be made. Schools are not safe and while a resource officer doesn’t even begin to make a dent into what really needs to happen at schools, it’s something, one safe measure. What is the benefit to removal? I am all for adding mental health professionals but removing resource officers is illogical. This is purely political, as is lowering the fine for assaulting an officer. Logically speaking wouldn’t lowering the fine make it more likely for someone to assault and officer, and wouldn’t that result in more police shootings/police brutality? How does lowering the fine for assaulting a police officer benefit anyone? I don’t normally let politics get to me but when we are talking about the safety of my child I am bothered! So grateful we have the means to remove our children from the county schools. Should our local government not be focused on real problems? If you need a list of projects that will actually help people feel free to call me!
I think it's worth consideration to have a scale program for offender reintroduction to society. Based on continued and rewarded success. A program that takes some of the hopless feelings alot of folks struggle with .3 mths good behavior ,reduction in court costs fines 6 mths -wjatevr and so forth. Mwithost being able to get license ,save money , own place and stable conditions .
My father was the longest in office Mayor in Virginia A Raymon Thacker he spent his 38 years of his life doing good for our small town and the state of Virginia. He had friends on both sides of the fence. From Doug Wilder to George Allen. He passed 2016 at 106 years old. I’m glad he’s not here to see what’s happening to our beloved State and Country. I am opposed to any defunding of police. Hold policeman that do horrific things accountable but the people need law enforcement. There are shortages in rural areas as it is. Minorities as well as whites will suffer for lack of officers. You want to take away citizens 2nd amendment rights to protect themselves, let criminals out early and defund the police and Make it less a crime to assault an officer. You will be lucky to keep any officers at all if you tie their hands behind their back. The thought that they could go to jail for shooting a perp even if warranted will cause them to hesitate and it could cost them their life. Why are you determined to destroy this state? Im also speaking up now “ No more Gun Control “ Virginia is sixth safest state in America. Over 20,000 rallied in January and over 140 counties, municipalities and towns became constitutional Or 2nd amendment sanctuaries. We are tired of having to defend a right already afforded us in the Constitution of the United States and Virginia bill of rights. A very small percentage of rifles are used in commission of a felony or hi cap rifle mags for that matter in Virginia . This state is safer with law abiding citizens owning firearms than Maryland or any big city with extreme gun laws, why can’t you guys get that. Thank you, Matthew Thacker
I am in support of the earned good time bill. My fiancé was given a 30 year sentence and is working hard to stay out of trouble. He is educating his self he works in the print shop and working hard to better his self as are others. With this pandemic right now this will help a lot of men and women come home early to reduce the spread of covid 19 and I’m sure would help with the violence I. The prison because it would give people hope and a chance to earn good time towards them coming home and to be free. Please pass this bill
The police are not the enemy but great public servants in the main. It is therefore my position that they should be supported not defamed and not denied the resources that they need to do their job. Police in the schools are necessary. Not only to protect the students from any outside menace but to protect the students from each other. Sadly recent history readily demonstrates that. Interfering with and or striking a police officer is the same as interfering with our assaulting the "STATE". While the penalties might not necessarily be increased they certainly should not be reduced. It is readily apparent that a relaxation as to the existent statues will lead to anarchy and increased lawlessness. (SEE PORTLAND and NEW YORK CITY).
I am opposed to decreasing penalties for assaulting police officers. There is no wisdom nor merit in political leadership embracing anything that would compromise the authority of the police and incentivize those who would commit violence and disregard our laws. It makes no sense to undermine the protection of our citizens by reducing the police force, their training and their ability to effectively do their job in protecting and serving their communities..
I am opposed to removing School Resource Officers and decreasing penalties for assaulting police officers. Our nation has seen the violence associated with these actions in large cities such as New York, Portland, Chicago and Minneapolis. Promoting violence, by reducing penalties of criminals who assault officers and hampering the ability of police to protect the public by reducing the police budget, will not bring an end to violence. The police bring law and order by protecting the public from criminals. The government is clearly not working for law abiding citizens if these proposals are passed,
We want the earned good time bill passed
I strongly disagree that an assault of a police officer should be a misdemeanor. Police officers have to be protected so that they can do their job and if the punishment is not strong enough criminals will not think twice about attacking an officer. My daughter is a police officer and I worry about her every day. Please protect her by keeping this a felony charge.
1. Eliminate criminal charges for students; return responsibility for discipline to the schools. 2. Require - and provide funding for education of all personnel working in schools, all police officers, all judges, and all prosecutors about neuroscience, attachment, development, and trauma. • Stress, distress, trauma and resilience; the three parts of the brain; regulatory systems of the brain/body; how to recognize brain body states; how to prevent dysregulation; emotional contagion; self-care and organizational care. 3. Ban Restraint and Seclusion in schools 4. Separate "parent support and education” organizations from the funding and authority of the Department of Education. 5.Return the charge of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) to a misdemeanor offense rather than the felony charge it currently is in Virginia Code § 18.2-57. • The charge of assault is abused in the schools as well as with adults. 6. Forbid lying by law enforcement to citizens during interrogation and any other time. Focus on integrity and fairness. 7. Require LE and CJS to consider developmental age and level of executive functioning skills when determining how to assure rights are protected. 8. Independent citizen review panels for criminal justice system – with teeth/authority. 9. Marcus Law across the state. 10. Standardized CIT training; Include info/training about autism. 11. Autistic self- advocate assigned to be present for autistic individuals in the CJS – every time there is communication with f LE and CJS 13. Inclusion of autistic self-advocates on review boards,
To my fellow Virginians, We cannot and should not think of defunding and/or reducing our police force. These heroic individuals protect and enforce our laws, which protect our freedom and assure our constitutional rights are protected. Without them we will have anarchy and lawlessness. What our police officers need is our support and encouragement, especially during these times of unrest in our cities. What needs to be done are public announcements to each and every citizen that explains what you should do if questioned by a police officer:When pulled over in a vehicles, Walking down the street, When an officer comes to your residence, etc.. And if you resist arrest then you will be subject to what measures are necessary to be apprehended. The assailant, or the general public for that matter, needs to be conscious of the consequences of resisting arrest. The School Resource Officers are there for the purpose of making the students and teachers feel safe and their presence is greatly appreciated by all. Not to mention the officers great influence on the young who are attending the school, who my someday aspire to become a police officer. I am proud to be a Virginian and have been most of my life. We have a rich history and we must never forget it. Many of our founding fathers lived here and none of them feared fighting against the current of injustice. I ask all our elected officials to resist joining the mounting flood of cities, who are buckling under the weight of civil unrest, and are actually defunding the very same officers who have sworn to protect them. Let us uphold the dignity of every police officer and show them the deep respect they deserve.
I wish to comment on two general proposals I have read are being considered. In the last month, we are seeing a significant increase of violence in various center cities, as well as attacks made against police officers. While there have been clear acts of racism and hatred by some police officers, such as in the George Floyd murder, the vast majority of police officers are honest and hard working. In many cases, mistakes may be made due to lack of training, or turnover. Our police officers should be treated with the highest level of respect, and they in turn should treat all community members with the same level of respect. 1 . An effort to downgrade the charge of assault of a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor should be rejected. Attacking a police officer is very serious, and by downgrading a charge, it may be viewed as "open season" by some who would consider such action. Simply look at some of the horrible attacks made against police in other cities in recent weeks, are you willing to invite these attackers into Virginia? 2. Efforts to defund, or reduce police budgets is misguided. Such an action will reduce the number of officers available for calls, and also, may reduce the training and qualifications of such officers. We need the best seasoned, trained and honest police officers available in our communities. Reducing budgets will likely result in increased crime, and put at greater risk the most vulnerable who need the police the most. Respectively. Randy Hufffman
I do not live in Richmond or Charlottesville and glad I do not. Defunding Police = reducing Police protection and opening the doors for more crime. School Resource Officers are at least a deterrent to crime in the school system and at best the protector of school students and staff. Check out Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis, Minnesota for examples of the destruction that happens when police are removed from protecting citizens. What a mess those two cities have to clean up from such naive action. In a perfect world we wouldn't need police, but this is not a perfect world. Unless an area can show a NO crime report for consecutive months/years keep the police in full force and deal with Police Officers who go too far the same way any other criminal would be treated. Compare it to getting a vaccination. Maybe you'll never get the illness if not vaccinated but why take the chance. In either case a life could depend on it. Stay focused on SAFETY. If the budget needs to be cut, start cutting salaries and perks at the top of the State or Local government levels.
Dear Delegates and colleagues: Please consider removing this provision in the law. I am sure you have seen the video posted on the Washington Post’s page that has garnered national attention. Though this video is from 2019, it highlights exactly why the claim “I smell marijuana” must immediately be removed as probable cause for search. It is my understanding that there was much debate during the 2020 General Assembly regarding removing the odor of marijuana as probable cause, but the legislature was unable to reach consensus on the language. I urge you today to resolve to remove the language. It is disproportionately used with BIPOC and is ultimately a discriminatory practice that must end. I thank you and your colleagues for your time and consideration in this most important matter. Respectfully, Brian Shaffer
what is your gameplan here get rid of the police then claim our children are no longer safe in school so you can demand everyone surrender their weapons to save the kids? is everybody who wants this willing to publish their home address so the "protesters" will know where to start? This cannot be serious, defund police, defelonize assault , please tell me our elected officials are not doing this in the interest of the citizens of the commonwealth
Dear Mr. Willett: Please consider removing the aforementioned topic as a provision in the law. I am sure you have seen the video posted on the Washington Post’s page that has garnered national social media attention. Though this video is from 2019, it highlights exactly why the claim “I smell marijuana” must immediately be removed as probable cause for search. It is my understanding that there was much debate during the 2020 General Assembly regarding removing the odor of marijuana as probable cause, but the legislature was unable to reach consensus on the language. I urge you today to resolve to remove the language. It is disproportionately used with BIPOC and is ultimately a discriminatory practice that must end. I thank you and your colleagues for your time and consideration in this most important matter. Respectfully, Christina B. Shaffer
It is important that you bring back good time earned for those who have stayed out of trouble and have been free of new charges. We all make mistakes and these people deserve a second chance. Please bring it back and allow our loved ones to come home!
Hi, my name is Michelle Breckenridge and my zip code is 22554. Police reform is about establishing laws that put an end to the harassment, over-policing, disproportionate arrests and caging of African Americans and other people of color. Our society must end its over reliance on law enforcement and prisons to solve its problems. During the special session this summer, the legislature must focus on eradicating the laws that allow police to make arrests that violate the constitutional rights of its citizens and endangers, rather than protects, their lives. I am writing to ask you to support real, meaningful, thorough criminal justice reform during the special session this summer. Please: • End pretextual policing—the fake reasons police cite when they initiate non-consensual encounters with citizens (who are disproportionately people of color). • Enact an authorizing statute permitting localities to start robust civilian oversight of law enforcement, with auditing authority and subpoena power. • Legalize marijuana. • Get police out of schools. Implement restorative justice programs in schools instead. • Reform egregious procedural injustice in the criminal Code by giving defendants a choice about jury sentencing. • And repeal all mandatory minimums, not just for nonviolent offenses, but all offenses—especially the assault on law enforcement statute, which has been weaponized by bad cops and overzealous prosecutors, not actual violent behavior, and in many cases is used to cover up for police misconduct. The House of Delegates, which was the main obstacle to criminal justice reform earlier this year, must enact these reforms and the Senate must stand by its commitment. Thank you for your consideration.
1. In VA if a law-enforcement officer is fired for use of excessive force, they still retain their certification. That is not acceptable. If they quit before being fired there is no requirement that their personnel files be automatically forwarded to any jurisdiction where they apply for employment. Their files must follow them and hold the employing jurisdiction accountable for any adverse actions by the new hire. The orignal employer must be required to document all misbehavior. 2. Many law-enforcement officers are former military. They are trained to kill. A police officer/deputy's job should be about de-escalation, using the least amount of force possible and improving community relations, not maximum use of force. These applicants need to be re-trained to learn a new mindset. 3. There needs to be a statute to require all law-enforcement officers to intercede when a fellow officers uses excessive force, ignores training or the law, as well as termination if those officers fail to act, fail to report the action or subsequently lie about the action. 4. All law-enforcement officers need to have mental health evalutions at least every 6 months. Too many lose their empathy over time. We also need to weed out the bigots and misogynists. 5. The General Assembly must enact laws to change how law-enforcement interacts with the citizenry. Recommendations and suggestions are not acceptable. No more "may." The language must say "shall." Leave no room for interpretation. Be clear and forceful. This is overdue.
I have been in law enforcement for 18 years. During that time I’ve seen the impact that crime has had on victims and families of victims. My own family was the victim of a crime nearly 40 years ago. As my parents were planning for their wedding a man hid in the back of my mother’s car. When she got in to leave he held her at gun point took her to a remote location and raped her. He was convicted and only served 16 months. Once I came along several years later I watched my mother clean house going room to room with a loaded gun. As a small child I didn’t understand this. A few years later she suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the trauma. Years later she used that trauma as fuel to fight for the abolishment of parole. She put her need to save the next victim ahead of her fear. As a direct result of her efforts parole was abolished in Virginia and many lives were saved. Your motives for reinstating parole are purely political. Her motives for abolishing it were personal but more over it was so another innocent victim didn’t have to suffer the pain she did and the pain we as a family did. To reinstate parole would be a travesty and would be a serious injustice to victims. Just like her I go to work every day to fight the good fight and hopefully prevent another person from being a victim. You as elected officials have the same duty to protect. The ones who are pushing for reinstatement are playing a dangerous game that will jeopardize the lives of many Virginians long after you’re gone. It’s time we take a stand and place victims over criminals. It’s your responsibility to do what is right for the VICTIMS not the criminals. They make the choice to commit these acts and with these choices come consequences.
I understand there is a bill proposing to reduce the penalty for assault on a police officer from a felon to a misdemeanor. This is outrageously wrong, radical, dangerous to our officers, and entirely unjustified. Please see the embedded report of FBI data showing an enormous increase in deadly assaults on police this year. https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/leoka. It shows that ALREADY in this year, there have been 32 felonious killings of police officers in the U.S., vs. only 25 at this stage last year -- a 28% increase in killings of police. In the face of this increasingly lawless assault on our officers, legislators propose radical bills to increase the prospect of more murders of police and otherwise harm and hinder the police in their efforts to fight increased violent crime. I have had only short notice of this hearing and thus no time to prepare more than the above. That said, as a 40-year-plus resident of this County, a Marine veteran, and former DOJ attorney, I adamantly oppose the bill to reduce the penalty for assaults on police and other anti-police measures under consideration here.
There has been a lot of hype and misdirection about the phrase “defund the police”. First it should be defined to a universal meaning that is well understood by all Virginians. It is unfortunate that some jurisdictions in other states have already taken “defund” far too literally, and we see rising crime rates as a result. Defund police in our Commonwealth should mean to remove hate or mistrust of other races from the hearts of men and women who want to be a part of our police forces. We need to properly fund and support our police to protect our communities. At the same time, we need to help our police eradicate all lingering vestiges of our terrible Jim Crow days. I am sure most of our current police force want this. Give them tools to achieve this because it will build bridges of trust and respect between the police and all races in our communities. When this happens then we will see a day that it will be safe for our police to perform their duties without guns.
Dear Members of the Committee, I believe it is imperative that decisions to reallocate funds away from Police Departments and to send alternative professionals into potentially dangerous situations must be based on facts and sound research, NOT political or public pressure which may be driven by emotion. Our feelings do not always represent reality and we cannot make policy decisions concerning the safety of our communities based on emotion alone. I would ask the committee to look closely at the types of situations the police encounter, get accurate numbers on the outcomes of these interactions and proceed cautiously to make needed changes. It is detrimental to all to unfairly label police officers as perpetrators of brutality if the facts do not bear that out. Edited social media videos, no matter how shocking or overplayed, may not accurately tell the whole story. Perhaps this in depth review would identify concrete changes needed in training, the need for police to work in teams with mental health professionals and tangible actions we can take to improve police community relations. These things may actually require increased or stable funding to achieve. Or...there may indeed be areas where funds can be reallocated, but those decisions would be made after a careful and thorough review. Look carefully at the areas of our country where the police have been shut out or attacked and you will not see safer, more stable communities. Let's support the good men and women of law enforcement and work together with them to ensure safety, security and prosperity for all citizens of our great state. Sincerely, Noelle Klein
Everyone needs the police sooner or later. Our world is a better place with them. You don't have the authority to take away my right to feeling safe in my community. Where would you be without them, fellow Democrats?
As a Vietnam-era US Marine Corps officer, and later as a US Govt. specialist, I am saddened and appalled by the thought of (a) reducing penalties for assaulting police officers; (b) removing SROs from Virginia schools; (c) cutting the police budget(s). Such action would be extremely dangerous and damaging to retaining our US Constitutional form of government and create increased criminal behavior in our Commonwealth. My recommendation--instead--would be to do the opposite: (1) increase penalties for assaulting police officers; (2) double the number of SROs in Virginia schools; and (3) double the police budget. We can discuss possible budget cuts in almost any other field. Thank you for considering my comments during this important meeting. Take care and Semper Fi!
The foremost responsibility of government is to keep its citizens safe by providing law and order. To that end I comment on the following upcoming proposals. 1. Decreasing penalty's for assaulting a police officer. This is nonsensical and in no way increases our safety. 2. Removing SRO'S This in no way serves to enhance the safety or security for our children, police presence in our schools provides needed defense and allows students to positively interact with our law enforcement officials 3. Cutting the police budget. At this time of unrest and growing lawlessness if anything we should be increasing the police budget for the protection of our citizens. Anything action counter to this could only seen as foolish. thanks for your concern and consideration, Steve Olson
I oppose any change or additional controls on Law Enforcement. I have a short story that says it all: The wolf has somehow convinced the sheep that the sheepdog is the dangerous one and that he must be removed.I pray for the sheep when the sheepdog is gone and the wolf has all the sheep to himself. This is exactly what is happening. People demonstrate and riot because of a 10 or so people that have been wrongfully killed by police in the past 3 years, while that is wrong and a tragedy, how about the 170 officers that have been murdered by gunfire since 2017 and many more that were killed in other ways trying to save citizens. It amazes me how the very ones that want to victimize the citizenry have convinced some of them that they need less or no police. This is insanity at its best. You want to curtail firearms rights and then curtail the police who protect us. Looks like a page right out if the Marxist playbook. The lunatics really have taken over the asylum.
The vast majority of police officers are good officers, who try to help the community in which they are giving a service of safety and well-being. This has been my experience in my town of Elkton, but also in the city of Norfolk. My son lived in Norfolk, just 2 years ago, and while there experienced a mental health crisis. We had to call and involve the police due to the fact he had armed himself. That was an extremely unnerving night. Fervently I asked God for protection for not only my son, but also the police officers and the neighbors. God answered my prayers through the team of police officers. They were good to him and to us. Not one shot was fired. The lead officer was an excellent communicator. He made the comment that this happens more than one would think, but that they had trained for scenarios like that one and had a good team who wanted a positive outcome. I cannot say enough good things about the Norfolk police and that process of involving their help, and the caring team who came to help us. In my town I am the librarian at the elementary school and regularly talk with our county resource officer, who primarily works at the high school. I would love to have one just assigned to our school as he, and others I have known over the years, truly wants to develop positive relationships with the kids. The same is true for our town officers. They rotate days and help out with bus duty. They are there to greet the kids and build positive relationships. The kids do respond well to them. When there have been times of family crisis the kids have been involved, knowing the officer, who is responding, is calming for the kid. There are good police programs in our commonwealth, and many good officers.
I oppose any change or additional controls on Law Enforcement. I have a short story that says it all: The wolf has somehow convinced the sheep that the sheepdog is the dangerous one and that he must be removed.I pray for the sheep when the sheepdog is gone and the wolf has all the sheep to himself. This is exactly what is happening. People demonstrate and riot because of a 10 or so people that have been wrongfully killed by police in the past 3 years, while that is wrong and a tragedy, how about the 170 officers that have been murdered by gunfire since 2017 and many more that were killed in other ways trying to save citizens. It amazes me how the very ones that want to victimize the citizenry have convinced some of them that they need less or no police. This is insanity at its best. You want to curtail firearms rights and then curtail the police who protect us. Looks like a page right out if the Marxist playbook. The lunatics really have taken over the asylum.
I support a review of police policies, but recognize the difficulties police face with each call. I have seen police deesculate tough confrontations with teens, and get the teens to trust them on multiple occasions. Both teens had mental health conditions. I was very impressed with how the Albemarle police responded. Deesculation skills should be emphasized with mental health situations. I believe police need a full "toolbox of skills " to use, and think chokeholds can be necessary in very limited situations. A psychiatrist nurse friend told me sometimes they used a chokehold for the safety of the patient as well as staff. Situations can explode quickly and safety is critical to ending the crisis, and/or crime. The police, the community, and the individual need to be kept safe. If you want people to trust police, then S.R.O. officers are critical to building that trust with kids in schools. I do not support cutting funding for SRO officers in schools at all. Use successful methods in schools, but I know that SRO officers can keep bullies at bay, can protect teachers and kids in a crisis, and make kids feel safe, esp if their home situation is difficult & dangerous. Decades ago we increased guns & equipment for the police because gangs and drug dealers had more gun power than the police. It was a terrible dangerous situation. Police still have to deal with dangerous criminals and need at least an equivalent weapon, or they become sitting ducks, and our communities suffer as victims as well. I do not want more gangs, drug dealing and human trafficking to increase because we are decreasing the police force, reducing their ability to fight crime, and telling them to stand down as a state.
As our world continues in a downward spiral, defunding those who keep us safe makes absolutely no sense at all! In November of 2019 most localities decided to show their support for the Second Amendment and I think we can see why this was so important to us! As elected officials we vote for you all to pass legislative action that will keep us safe. Most police departments had the motto of: "To protect and serve". I will concede that from time to time people pass through the system that have ill intent. There are some bad apples, but please do not let those bad apples spoil the entire batch! By defunding any Police Force or Sheriff's Office you will in fact show that you do not care about the public safety of our localities and ultimately of our fine state.
Although I reside in Henrico County I am a stakeholder in Richmond policing because lawlessness in Richmond spills over into adjoining jurisdictions and affects my safety and that of my family and neighbors. I am in favor of increasing the police budget to allow an increased presence in problem neighborhoods and to fund recruitment and training of officers. I encourage you to support our police officers. Penalties for assaulting officers should not be reduced. Those officers serve and protect the public and in turn deserve our respect and protection. Likewise, removing School Resource Officers would be ill advised because they are the first line of defense against armed intruders. Our schools need more protection, not less. Fort the safety of the public, I am in favor of disciplining or firing officers who demonstrate a recurring pattern of bad professional behavior or judgement. However, I strongly oppose actions that punish all officers for the misdeeds of a few.
I am a 2016 graduate of Albemarle High School. Throughout my four years at AHS, I had limited contact with our SRO other than seeing her in the hallways from time to time. However, there was an incident that occurred at the beginning of my sophomore year that required attention beyond that of the administration. While nothing he did was illegal, it was concerning behavior that made me feel unsafe in my learning environment (as well as encounters in town). He would consistently be inside my personal space, ask very personal questions, follow me from class to my car/bus, etc. When crossing paths at the local gym, the behaviors were much the same. After a conversation with my SRO in conjunction with my parents, she managed the situation to both stop him from continuing this behavior and presenting/assist me with next steps should the behaviors persist. Without her help, I would 1. not have had a safe learning environment, 2. not known what next steps to take, and 3. potentially felt that this behavior is normal which could have led me to dangerous situations. Now, I am a newly certified and licensed athletic trainer. I recognize the importance of knowing the people you lead and manage. In my field, I may be a great athletic trainer at a local high school with a great booster program. By my awareness, needs, and demands all change radically if I were to be placed in a school with 100% free and reduced lunch. SRO operate much the same. They know their role and ability to assist because of the relationships they've built and time they spend doing what they were trained to do. The value of their role comes in their ability to prevent bad things from happening just as much as it does to help once bad things have happened.
I urge you to maintain or raise the Police budget. Richmond has made national and international news for civil unrest and Anarchists’ destruction. Your city’s economy will be hurt long term if you don’t Swiftly reverse this image and proactively project a safe city with a fully funded police force. I have conducted business in Richmond for many years, once for a 9-month stint Weekdays, and the police have always been professional and friendly. I truly hesitate to travel to Richmond at this juncture due to the uncertainty about my safety. You need to support the women and men who sacrifice so much to serve the community in so many unrewarded ways. I urge you to show your support financially and to issue a press release that will demonstrate the city’s renewed safety.
As a retired Commonwealth of Virginia Police Officer, I am appalled that you would even consider decreasing penalties for assaulting a police officer or removing School Resource Officers from schools. Doing so puts more officers at risk of violent injuries or death, even more so than right now. Removing SRO puts the children at more risk of bullying and more severe injuries, a more likelihood of shootings and stabbings and overall emotional problems. I can tell you that, as a father, I counted on the SRO in my daughter’s schools and they did a great job. My daughter once told me that her SRO always seemed to know where the trouble was. Think this over seriously as their blood will be on your hands. Criminals are not afraid of the law where there is no protection. And, when there is no threat of punishment, there is no protection for the police officer. Our current environment is changing into mob violence, anarchy, looting, burning, murder and chaos. It seems that our alleged leaders are more concerned about what people think of them than they are of the people they are sworn to protect and serve and, ladies and gentlemen, that is you.
I am appalled that this is even up for a topic of conversation, our law enforcement who put their lives on the line every single day to protect us as Americans, going out knowing how dangerous their jobs are and are getting so much worse every single day, those are the heroes whom are the last ones that we need to use as a punching bag right now for the wrongs of others. There are good and bad people everywhere and in every profession and have always been and the criminals need to pay for their crimes, isn't that the purpose of our justice system, our judges. lawmakers and politicians? Are every one of these professions under the reign of fire that we are putting our law enforcement under right now? Would this be debatable over bad & corrupt politicians? Would every other politician be liable and punished for the wrong doings of others, have their budgets cut, jobs taken away, made to look like monsters because of a bad few. Wouldn't this be a totally different conversation if so? The thought of taking our resource officers out of our schools and cutting their budgets is insanity, thinking of sending my children to school knowing that there is no resource officers is a very scary thought. With all the craziness going on in our world right now is this really a smart choice? As politicians if your life was in danger, who would you call upon? Our law enforcement officers of whom budgets you want cut and jobs taken away? Would you ever send your children/grandchildren to schools where they have no one to protect them? Our law enforcement need our support right now, they need to know that we have not deserted them & that they will not be held accountable for others wrong doings. Punish the criminals not the heroes!
I urge Virginia to revoke qualified immunity for police; revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly; demilitarize the police; and revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured. Thank you.
This country is going to H___ in a handbag. There isn't enough money given to police now to pay them for what they have to do every day or night. the people wanting to defund the police have no idea what they are asking for and the first time they need the police there won't be any there. Maybe they can get a social worker or a BLM person to come and save them. I'm sorry I better cut this off before I say something I will regret.
There should not be any changes. If there are citizens should definitely have the legal right to protect self and property as stated in our Constitution.
I wish to state my disapproval of legislation that reducing penalties for assaulting a police officer. Our police and country need to be protected from criminals . We cannot allow this to happen. I wish to live in a country where I can continue to feel safe as a widow. As a teacher, if school systems find it best to provide a resource officer in their schools this should also be allowed. I have seen the importance of these officers within our schools.
I strongly disapprove of the defunding of any police department as well as any law that lessens charges against anyone that assaults an officer of the law.
Please vote NO to all of the above. We need our police departments. Schools need security officers. If we chip away at our police departments no qualified young men and women will want to serve! Who will provide security in our cities?
We all want a quick solution to settle our communities, protect them, and govern justly. Right now one-off solutions (defund police, release prisoners, limit types of police guns, etc.) sound good and gain popularity but lack a strategic plan guiding decisions. I suggest the committee create a small task force to draft a 2 year strategic plan with the assistance of a couple technical experts in law (like Chip Hartman) and justice (former attorney general) plus a neutral consultant to facilitate the process. An expedited process with 7-8 qualified people can produce a 1-page strategic plan with guiding principles to move forward within 2 months. Once approved by the committee, the principles (sometimes called objectives) can guide decisions as a tactical plan is developed. I have seen this process work. Actions support 4-5 principles that envision a better community. After the upcoming sessions for feedback, I urge the committee to take the time for intense planning to develop overall principles to guide decision making. It is tempting in an election year to do something quickly, look good, and get elected. I think a commitment to a timeline for developing a plan with guiding principles is even more compelling Let’s make Virginia an example for other states. We have an opportunity to develop a long term approach that can help many more communities than just our own.
I have recently come to the realization that we really don't have politics as a battleground in our streets, nor on Capitol Hill. I'm now aware these problems are due to evil running rampant. People appear to have absorbed demons, possessing the unthinkable. I'm really disgusted by authority figures engaging in sex trafficking, mayors allowing lawlessness and the entertainment industry that lacks the decency to revoke language, plots / actions that perpetuates the decay of our society. There is no reaction to this constant diet of decadence, lies and deceit currently feeding our nation. The public has become numb. Should I say the "dumbing-down" of our educational system has provided for no critical thinking. Have you no ability to know the difference between right and wrong? Apparently leaders are unable to know how to lead in a constructive manner. The police put their lives in harm's way every day. They deserve raises, not de-funding. How many government officials have security for themselves and family. Are you willing to give that up first, before you de-fund the public's safety? Answer that FIRST. We would like to have that on the record! I'm stymied, how do we stop this carnage? Allowing thugs to destroy homes and businesses is perverse and we need to call them out, arrest and jail them. Sincerely astonished in the ignorance displayed! Laurel Guy
I am a teacher in a high school. The SRO is an important part of our faculty in our school and I believe in all middle and high schools. My comments apply to all Virginia law enforcement. I suggest a significantly phased approach that begins FIRST with a COMMITMENT to specific relational-based training. Officers and other who deal with numbers of people on a daily basis, need to know how to identify those with emotional issues, special education and intellectual needs. Please train these officers. DO YOU know how to identify with and properly interact with a high functioning autistic student or adult? Unless you have been placed in a position where you would need to know this information or trained, the answer is most likely NO. Other training, specifically race relation and communication training also needs to be incorporated into a relational-based training program. Virginia can lead the way if we DO NOT "throw out the baby with the bath water" which is what I see happening with the direction we are going. This issue is not political! It IS a significant training issue! Please show the upcoming generations that the way intelligent adults handle tough situations is through understanding shortfalls in all aspects of the issue. Our young people are looking at you all right now and truly wondering why you have turned your back on the people who have been hired to protect and serve our communities. PLEASE BE FORWARD THINKING and NOT REACTIVE!!!! TRAINING! TRAINING! TRAINING!
A number of people killed by police that were not warranted, and in most cases appropriate action was taken against them. Unfortunately, in the hiring of officers, some want to have the authority to abuse people. More screening of new officers should be done. Some of the police schools have resorted to the "rambo" techniques which even ruins some would be good, fair officers. The Virginia State Police has the best training of officers, but some used by other police departments have watched too much TV. But the vast majority of the police are good officers dedicated to protection of people and property, but the media only gives press to the ones who should not be police officers in the first place. Now in the heat of the media frenzy the lawmakers are planning to weaken the powers of the police. They are giving aggressive people the green light to push them to the limit to antagonize the police which many are doing. Why would any sane person remove the protection of schools, with all the worst care of maniacs lurking that will kill more children. And defunding the police departments, and in some cases doing away with them, is the overkill, leaving helpless citizens without anyone to come to their aid when they are in danger. If a Democratic president is elected, many Democratic Congressmen and Women have are already poised to takes arms away from home owners--they apparently support criminals having them. With killing the police departments and taking the only protection homeowners have will cause the loss of untold lives, destruction of property, robbing, stealing, but they don't care. God help us all.
As a law abiding citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I am writing to urge you not to cut funding for the police, and not to reduce the penalty for assaulting police. Our dedicated police men and women put their lives at risk every time they put on their uniform. We need to ensure that they know that we fully support them in their work and that we will not tolerate anyone assaulting them. Remember ... they are on the streets for us! I am also concerned about the push to remove SROs from public schools. What are people thinking?! With all of the school shootings in recent years why .... WHY?? -- would you want to remove them? Put the safety of our children first! Please do what is best for ALL of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and not the angry anti-American, anti-police, anti-Law crowd. You represent the law abiding citizens of Virginia, NOT those Marxist groups who, in many cases, are not even citizens of our Commonwealth. So JUST SAY NOT to the MARXISTS!!!
Stop scaring people this virus that is very avoidable. Mandate all to wear masks within 6 feet face to face for no more than 10 minutes, w/ no actual contact. If someone gets or gives a positive Covid 19 resulting from their actions, place them in self-quarantine 1st and on a roster; if they get or give + again a fine $500; and third time one year in jail and $1000 fine. Take unemployed & make them government tracers or Virus sterilizers, & cut the free money train and drain. Free Covid 19 testing until 2021. All groups to be separated out the immunodeficient or immuno-compromised from the virtual unaffected. Criminals back in prison bail again ASAP Peaceful protects by appointment granted legally , but if anyone who breaks the law, a gets arrested level 1, politely if they do so willingly, level ll, if they resist, by any reasonable use of force, level lll, If an officer orders“Stop it’s the Police”, and they do not; they deserve full force restraint . Attacks on cops gets level lll, the full force of arrest. Indemnify the police before they all quit and use Sherriff dept.to single out the bad cops 1% . Get funding to allow testing to be virtually everywhere with 30 minute results. Indemnify business owners from huge law suits, unless gross negligence is found. Back to school ASAP
Various proposals have been announced by state legislators and local officials, including: * Decreasing penalties for assaulting a police officer. * Removing SROs (School Resource Officers) from schools. * Cutting the Police budget. All of these proposals are nonsensical. They reduce the ability of police officers and sheriff deputies to investigate crimes and enforce the laws of Virginia, to respond to emergency calls, to arrest and charge those who break the law, and to defend our vulnerable school children from gang activity and mass murder. The proposal to decrease penalties for assaulting a police officer would certainly make their job of law enforcement even more difficult and dangerous. To improve our law enforcement capabilities , we should provide more advanced training to new and veteran officers and increase salaries and benefits to attract and retain high quality law enforcement personnel. The vast majority of our police officers and deputies are decent men and women who do their job fairly and without discrimination. Why would you enact proposals to make it easier for criminals to commit crimes against our citizens and attack our police officers?
Dear Chair Person of the Committee, I am writing to express my concern regarding the possible changes in the State Code as it pertains to penalties for assaulting a police officer, removing SROs from schools, and cutting or reallocating law enforcement funds. No one can deny that in certain areas of the Commonwealth, there is a great deal of emotional non- violent and violent protests resulting from the totally unnecessary deaths of African Americans in other states. This has lead to a heated debate in Virginia, and across America, resulting in highly emotional anti-law enforcement discussions. As a result law enforcement morale is at an all time low. I urge the committee to discuss the issues at hand and listen to all opinions. However, until the State and National debate calms down, please refrain from recommending any changes to change the current State Code. In my opinion, doing so will put all Virginia citizen's safety at risk and increase the crime/murder rates in the Commonwealth. The State must do everything possible to promote the rule of law. Respectfully, Jeffrey B Ferrill
I believe we are gifted with men and women that are willing to come forward and provide police protection for our communities, Anything that helps them should be provided. To Reduce the charges for an Asselt on a police officer is unthinkable. I am opposed to any reduction. These men and women are in harms way everyday, and if you change this law you are giving those that are wrong does the right to hurt them without penalty. Leave this as it is. The SRO's in school take good staff away from what is needed on the streets and a police car parked at every school all day long is a waste of tax payers money. Cut the school budget and give more to community policing. That is where it is needed. Do not cut the police budget. Lorene Payne
Doesn't anyone realize that cutting back on police funding and police protection provides an open season for crime? Do we want crime in our neighborhoods? While 1% of the police force may perpetrate a crime against a suspect, all the rest of the police are trying to provide safety and protection to all the citizens. We WANT and We NEED ALL the police protection we have. Thank you.
Police need more pay and definitely more support. Rotation of duties and work locations could prevent burn out. Respect for all officers should be expected and demanded by the public. We cannot live in a lawless society where vigilantes rule. Race should never be an issue. It's horrifying and scary to see where our society is headed if we don't reign in this racism. When blacks make up only about 15 percent of the population and account for more than 50 percent of crime, there will always be the perception of bias, but I don't think there truly is. Its because of the Great Society that the democrats started with Lyndon Johnson...no fathers, keeping them in the projects and keeping them enslaved so they would vote for the democratic party. They have nothing to complain about. They get preferential treatment over whites in many areas, just because they're a minority. Indians, aka native Americans, in this country have way more to complain about as far as treatment. And taking down statues and renaming schools will not make any difference in how our society functions. Its just a minority group exerting their power by threats of violence. We are being held hostage by these communist radicals and police as well as the second amendment are our only defenses.
Do not reduce penalties in assaulting police. Keep SRO's in school. This will embolden the criminals. Instead ride with a police person and see what really goes on. Who of you will step in front of a police person being attacked by a criminal?? Do not make this job more dangerous than it is already. Look at Portland, Chicago and Seattle. Is this what you want for all of us? Do you really think like that mayor that they will not come after you, guess again. Instead ask Police how you can best help them. There is always room for improvement, that goes for you all too!Do not make us like the areas that are controlled by gangsters. We all really want peace, prosperity for all of us. The blue line is basically good men and woman. Do no use what a few bad ones destroy them. They have ptsd caused by what they are subjected to. They are human too. In many of the democratic cities the tax base is being destroyed. I have seen a woman of color cry because they burned her store she shopped at. Why? If you really want to help, find out why each night on TV blacks are killing blacks. No one seems to want to deal with this. Why? Don't you care for the children in harms way? Why?? No politics but real reform that benefits all of us. Please listen to reason, not politics!! I really believe you all have a hidden agenda, which for most or all of us is bad, why else are you doing this!!
Please do not cut, defund, or any thing else except give them better training and a raise!!
I am beyond concerned with the Democratic agenda in Virginia. I oppose these: Late term / after birth / any stage of abortion. Defunding or diminishing any and all Police authority. Can we learn better methods, yes. Oppose removal of School SRO’s. Removal or decreasing any right to own guns. Any and all actions effecting churches. Hands off dictating what can and cannot happen to people of faith. Get schools open in September for those that choose public education. Find teachers, even if brand new college grads to teach. If educators are smart enough to teach and run schools, they are smart enough to figure this out. Government must support these fools efforts any way needed. Turn Commonwealth back to Republican!! Thanks Rob and Bell family for your long commitment to us. Rob Bell for Governor!!
Anyone with any common sense would never think this was a good idea. What possible good could come out of this!! Just insanity.
Please do not remove police officers from the schools. They provide the teachers students parents and staff an assurance of safety. They also refuse gang activity in schools . Also please do not reduce the penalty for assaulting a police officer. If you see the riots going on around and see the police assaulted with no penalty leading to anarchy and terror for the law abiding citizens.
An assault or attack on any living person should be a felony. with maximum penalty. We cannot descend into a lawless society allowing criminal behavior of any type.
I do not think penalties for assaulting a police officer should be decreased, SROs (School Resource Officers) should be removed from schools, or the Police budgets should be reduced. Police Officers put their lives in danger to protect us and deal with crime. Yes - they may need additional training, but if we want people to take these risks there needs to be some understanding and less judgement after the fact from the comfort of your living room or office. In general the vast majority of police are good and ethical people. Deal with the few bad exceptions, not the entire police force.
I am opposed to any legislation that would reduce the penalties for assaulting law enforcement officers. Decisions regarding SRO's should be made at the local level. All law enforcement agencies should be required to review and update if necessary their use of force policies in an open and transparent manner.
I am against a changes that have to do with our Police Officers. Do no decrease penalties for assaulting a Police Officer. Need to increase penalties for assaulting a PO (it is a dangerous job). Increase Police Officers salaries. Do not remove the SRO's for our schools and make them less safe! Sincerely, Janet Bell
In light of the anarchy in major cities, I am opposed to weakening law enforcement in any way. The mayhem, arson, and looting that I am witnessing on newscasts is appalling and alarming. The current atmosphere of restricting law enforcement will only make things worse. I hope that our legislators will realize the importance of protecting their citizens. The concept of restricting law officers is emboldening criminals, gangs and anarchists.
no police cuts.
I fully support the police force, increased funding for police departments, and increased penalties for assaulting police officers. I am against removing School Resource Officers from protecting schools. De-funding the police and consideration of reducing penalties for assaulting police officers is completely wrong.
I am motivated to write to this committee first as the father of two police officers and the father-in-law of another, second as citizen of the Commonwealth, and third as a rational person. I am strongly opposed to decreasing the penalties in Virginia for assaulting a police officer. As a father, I want the maximum protection available under the law for my children. As a father-in-law, I am no less motivated. As a citizen of the Commonwealth, I rely upon our police to keep order when others would take it away. I expect our police to put themselves in harm’s way to protect myself and other citizens. I want those who would break the law to recognize the authority of the police - to recognize that police are different from other citizens upon whom they might prey. Treating an assault upon police differently from an assault on a typical citizen is consistent with seeing them as special. As a rational person, it makes sense to me that if the police are called to break up an assault in progress, the only hope they have for a peaceful intervention is if the perpetrator recognizes that shifting the focus of their assault from their victim to the police is a bad idea and has more serious consequences. The perpetrator has already accepted the risk of being penalized for a simple assault. It offers the police more protection if there is a higher personal risk if they choose to assault the police. Also, an assault upon a typical citizen is an assault upon that citizen. An assault upon an officer in the performance of their duties is an assault upon the criminal justice system of the Commonwealth. It is a different crime and should be treated accordingly.
Dear Members and those listening to this reading - greetings: As a veteran (US Navy - Ret), I have visited many 2nd and 3rd world nations in addition to those in the 1st world. While our nation is in the grips of a crisis the desire to leave our streets and those most vulnerable abandon for lack of better and more engage positive community-base policing is not in keeping with the motto on the Virginia state seal - Sic semper tyrannis or So always (virtue defeats) tyrants. Mobs are tyrants! It is not virtuous for small children, babies really, to die in the streets as we have seen in recent weeks, at the hand of the lawless who don't respect the words for the protection of "We the people (all the people)..." to in fact assure that government can "... provide for the general welfare..." by "...providing for the common defense..." (aka police) by those so capably trained as to respect the human (aka civil) rights of everyone, such that the assurance of "...domestic tranquility..." is part of not only the ability to "...establish justice...", but to assure that once established such justice is both fair and transparent in its delivery. No human being should have treated as Mr. Floyd over a $20 bill fake or not! The pure spite on the part of one police officer in Minneapolis and those who enabled his cruelness at the time by standing by is served by better training. When innocent people of color suffer in a lawless state at the whim of mob-rule, is that fair? Is that just? What about a "... people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances..." not by the government but by their fellow citizens? Where is their justice? Nate Szejniuk HMC (SW/AW), USN (Ret)
I am writing to request that our police departments in the state remain fully funded and increase training. Also defunding police jeopardizes all Virginians and the proposed gun laws crush law biding citizens rights and put everyone in danger from criminals . Therefore I urge support on these issues to protect the citizens of this state.
VSP and Richmond PD are some of the most professional LEOs in the world. Liberals and anarchists are taking the opportunity to gin-up problems where they don’t exist. Yes, in areas of high crime will have more interaction with police because after-all; cops “police” where crime statistics dictate they should police! If communities want less interaction, they need less crime. Ill be damned if the grandma in her best Sunday hat gets rolled for her collection plate donation because of some phantom social justice mandate because of one bad cop that the entire country was just as pissed off at as the “community” he belonged to! We were ALL COMMUNITY after that, but anarchists that hate everything about America hijacked that incident as open season on police that have killed 18 LEOs, injured countless others and paralyzed one from the neck down. As Bruce Springsteen said in his song “Jungleland.” “.....he wound up wounded, and not even dead. Tonight in jungle - land!” I say we provide more resources and more police because this is never going to end!
I do NOT want the penalties for assaulting a police officer decreased. these men and women risk their lives every day to protect me and my family and knowing that they are trained to handle life and death situations i appreciate the fact that they should be able to defend their own lives when that situation should occur. Schools should have SROs as a deterrent to the current social environment that exists today. i feel much safer with a trained professional at the school. NEVER should we cut the police budget unless the Police Department recommends it. they need to be compensated for the dangerous work they do and maybe the budget should be increased for bonuses . I hope the message is clear that we law abiding citizens will always respect our officers... Politics should not play a part in our everyday lives. What is being fed to us right now courtesy of the advertising media is purely political. And with the violence being displayed in the inner cities, we need more law enforcement to protect the innocent. Thank you for the opportunity to be heard. Sincerely, One of the Silent Majority
Hello, I have been doing research and educating myself on policing in the state of Virginia. I believe there should be better data collected across the state regarding use of force and civilian complaints. Though Virginia Beach appears to have had a citizen review board for a number of years it looks like the type that has no authority and was just put in place so that leadership could check a box. I would also like to see how many elementary, middle and high school kids are being detained or sent to juvenile prison. What areas in our state have the most traffic stops? Or the most civilian stops? Implicit bias training should be mandatory and should include an evaluation afterwards. We can do much better in our state and communities. Now is the time to make positive changes. Thank you
Those holding public office have a solemn duty to protect American citizens by ensuring that law and order are maintained and dispensed equally for every person, male and female, white and black, young and old. This is not possible without an adequate well-trained, well-funded police force. The words engraved over the US Supreme Court, "Equal Justice under Law," must be taken seriously with a firm commitment to never let this ideal disappear from this great nation or from any state in it. It is not possible to maintain true equality in justice without law and order. The men and women who serve as police officers are willing to lay down their lives to help all of us. "No greater love" is there than that. A small minority of policemen have acted corruptly, used excessive force, or abused the power of their positions. Those individuals should be dealt with on an individual basis and brought to justice. The grave crimes against George Floyd and others who have been hurt by such rogue policemen demand justice. But justice is served only when those committing crimes are justly punished , and those not committing crimes are not punished. If you decrease funding for the police, decrease penalties for assaulting a police officer, or make it more difficult for the police to do their jobs, you do NOT serve justice. You only aid lawlessness, which always leads to tyranny and oppression of innocent people. If you truly believe in equal justice under law, you will help the police to improve, not tie their hands behind their backs and expect them to still protect us. Remember, they are here to protect and serve, and so are you. By upholding law and order, you protect the rights of the people. Please do the right thing.
The freedom of every American, man, woman, and child depends upon safety in their home and on the street. If you will not keep the police strong and well-funded out of love for others, then protect us because you have a conscience. If you do not have a conscience, do it out of self-interest. When your family is threatened by an armed man breaking in, or you are mugged on the street, you will want the police to respond, quickly. Do not let the wicked and wrong actions of a few rob the rest of us, your fellow-citizens, your neighbors, your family of the protection of law enforcement. Please.
To defund, remove resource officers, decrease penalties for assaulting an officer is absurd.. Personal citizens need officers on an emergency. Students need officer present to deter bad/criminal behavior. To reduce penalties for assaulting an officer is asking for them to be attacked as there are little to no consequences. I had an emergency Sunday night driving as I was being targeted by a vehicle that clearly had mischief intent. Had it not been for 911 and the officer in route to help me, I don't know what I would have done. Put yourself in a worse case scenario and you are in harm's way....WHO ARE YOU going to call to help? Your kid gets attacked at school, who is going to protect your child? Use some common sense and put the political agenda aside .. Keep your family, your home, your community and our officers safe!! Thank you.. Connie Knight
As a citizen of Virginia, I am writing to strongly oppose any reduction of penalty for assaulting law enforcement, removal of SRO's in schools and cutting any police department budget. It is imperative to keep law and order in Virginia (and across the nation for that matter), and not allow criminals to run the streets. Often times, protests are not peaceful, which disrupts the message. With lack of police, being safe at home is not safe at all. I urge you to seriously consider what many Virginians are concerned about when it comes to public safety. As a minority and a first generation family in America, I encourage public safety and rights of law abiding citizens as priority. Anything less is unacceptable. Thank you for your time. Please for the safety of our children and seniors, do NOT defund the police, remove SRO's and reduce penalty for assaulting law enforcement.
Please continue to support our police officers, they need to know you have their back. Do not lessen the charge when someone assaults a police officer. That would not be an improvement on anything that we have now. Just leave it alone, please.
Applaud effort of Delegates Herring and Hope to solicit input from VA. Citizens on Criminal Justice and policing systems. I would offer the following: 1. We need to address the cause not the after effect. 2. Give minorities the option of school choice. 3. Support/Fund organizations as Boys/Girls Club. 4. Reinforce the importance/need for 2 parent households. 5. Identify and address the numerous health issues within communities of color. 6. Enforce the rule of law across the board (rioting/looting/defacing/damaging public/private property not tolerated or punished). 7. Rewook police Union agreements to 3 strike rule on proven misconduct. 8. Require Mandatory use of body cams. 9. Fully fund police rgmts identified by SMEs. 10. Adhere to the recommendations/advice by bipartisan committees formed to provide input. 11. Put proposed changes into amendments for general population to decide rather than rely on a MANDATE resulting from election results with less than 30% participation. 12. Provide equal representation throughout the State and not let most populace areas dictate State policy/law. Finally, symbolism does matter. Be HONEST with the public. Saying monuments were removed and stored/warehoused for future consideration was not factual when they are seen laying on the Wastewater Treatment Grounds. Is this subtle symbolism??? Appreciate the chance to comment.
I am writing to encourage our legislature to take a frank and in depth look at policing and its costs to our Commonwealth. The time is now to examine the very real impact of policing on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) folks. The costs to our society cannot be measured only financially. We have an obligation to investigate the human costs - the loss of fathers, sisters, friends through police brutality or placement into our justice system. We have better ways to address the needs of our community without heavy police involvement. We have overinflated the budgets and roles of police - and given them authority in matters over which they have no expertise nor skill. We need to divest our money from the police and begin to fund those areas which may have greater impact to stable and thriving communities such as housing, food access, and mental health support. When we ignore the basic needs of our community, when we deny people their humanity - and then punish them for their needs - we create a cycle of violence. We create the safety issues. We create the volatility that we then say "this requires police." It is our communal responsibility to take care of our fellow citizen. As an example, if you look at white communities in upper economic areas they are not made safer by police, they are made safer by a well resourced and vast social fabric that ensures the humanity of neighbors and contributes to the greater good. I cannot state clearly enough that we are at a critical place in our history, and the time is now to full examine how we can use our resources and money to promote public safety and justice outside of policing. Thank you for your time.
We support VLBC's list of priorities to be addressed during the special session. https://www.vablackcaucus.com/news/c/0/i/47508787/vlbc-special-session-priorities?fbclid=IwAR0LM74U4Z532mzyiflldtSRqSe0zxtvAhpwyWXXfk61FNU7yGrTi0HG47k This includes: End pretextual policing—the fake reasons police cite when they initiate nonconsensual encounters with citizens they wish to investigate (who are disproportionately people of color). Enact an authorizing statute permitting localities to start robust civilian oversight of law enforcement, with auditing authority and subpoena power. Legalize marijuana. Get police out of schools. Reform egregious procedural injustice in the criminal Code by giving defendants a choice about jury sentencing. And repeal all mandatory minimums, not just for nonviolent offenses, but all offenses—especially the assault on law enforcement statute, which has been weaponized by bad cops and overzealous prosecutors to punish “contempt of cop,” not actual violent behavior, and in many cases is used to cover up for police misconduct.
While some changes are needed I request Defunding the police not being one. As prior military I know the importance of training and with the under funding, under maning, and under support our police have they are not able to have proper training. Training in hand to hand combat would be huge maybe work out a deal with a local Martial Arts school to pay for them to train so they can become more proficient in Non lethal forms of defense and apprehension. Also start supporting police, have conversations between the police and community leaders to work on building the trust between the communities and the police. Lastly I call for the silence of Senator Lucas due to her involvement in the tearing down of the statue in Portsmouth that lead to a man being hospitalized in critical condition, due in some part to her emboldening the mob by telling Portsmouth police that they would not arrest anyone.
All police should have body cameras to protect citizens and to protect themselves. Police training and support should be increased. Counseling should be offered to all officers to provide them with the emotional and practical support they need to endure the stresses of the job. Any assault, verbal or physical, perpetrated against a police officer or police property, including cars and police stations, should be a felony. No person assaulting an officer or police property should post less than $5,000 bail to be released from jail. Police operations should be expanded and fully funded as we are now basically in a state of war against insurgents from within America who have stated that it is their aim to destroy our government and our way of life. Citizens are increasingly unsafe in their own neighborhoods, cities, schools, houses of worship, and businesses. Police presence in communities and on our city streets should be significantly expanded, particularly after dark, as that is when most of the violent looting, rioting, and assaults are taking place. Police should be protected with all of the equipment they need, including body armor, riot shields, batons, pepper spray, and rubber and real bullets for their guns. DEFEND THE POLICE. PROTECT THE CITIZENS.
Mandatory minimum sentences are inherently wrong. Let the judges decide on the punishments. This goes especially for assault on a police officer. It is too easy to have the police abuse this law. we need to re-train police in the use of non-leathal defenses, crowd and riot control, and encourage neighborhood policing where the police are considered helpful members of society, not a pack of racist thugs who live in fear and racially profile our citizens. Prove to the citizens of this state that you represent all the people regardless of color. De-militarize the police. Revise the police indictment procedures so bad cops go to jail, not get off with a warning.
It has been 25 years since parole was abolished and good time was done away with. We know from many studies, documentaries and the very people who signed these tough on crime bills that this was not the right course of action to deal with crime. We also see how suchs laws have disproportionately affected black and brown people and familes, taking mothers and fathers away for years without a chance for rehabilitation or redemption. Forgiveness, second chances, opportunity is what free people get daily without question yet we treat the incarcerated as if they do not deserve what get EVERYDAY. It is not fair, just, and it should not be based on violent vs non violent labels. We know all to well and have seen all the news stories and movies a/b men mostly black men who've been exonerated after decades for VIOLENT crimes they were convicted of and do not do. OR the countless young black men like my boyfriend who signed a plea deal at 18 for 45 years of his life b/v he didn't turn states witness, was black, in the south, alone, and a white male doing a crime with him was killed. He took the wrap. FIRST time offender, no priors, sits still at 40 years old in prison having run out of programsto do. HE deserves a chance to come home , earn good time for growing up and rehabilitating himself despite the odds in prison stacked against him and others. He is labeled violent because of his crime. He isn't a violent person. THESE MEN AMD WOMEN who have proven themselves worthy ofa second chance should get that. God is a forgiving God, how dare we act greater than him and treat others as of they no longer are human for wrongs they have commited. Say yes to HB1532 NOW FOR ALL PRISONERS. Lastly Virginia parole board needs an overhaul
Virginia's prosecutors do not have to prove, nor are our judges or juries required to find, that a person poses an unmanageable risk of danger to themself or the public before they are sentenced to jail or prison. Despite versions of this incarceration standard already being employed in the Commonwealth's criminal bond hearings and civil commitment proceedings, Virginia's criminal sentencing dramatically widens the net of incarceration by embracing a punishment paradigm. Jail and prison sentences are meted out on calculations of moral culpability rather than violent risk mitigation. Within this culpability model, widely varying personal views on morality bias the sentencing preferences of local prosecutors, judges, and juries and drive the incarceration of non-violent people in Virginia. And our Black, brown, and poor Virginians suffer disproportionately for it. The Virginia Holistic Justice Initiative (www.vahji.com) is working to end the incarceration of non-violent people by advocating for reform that addresses this real problem as it exists: We urge the General Assembly to explore the notion of installing this threshold sentencing question in Virginia's criminal code by an argued, evidentiary hearing, modeled on the standards within Virginia's already operable bail and civil commitment statutes, in order to leverage these due process principles for the protection of our Black, brown, and poor Virginians from the involuntary and disproportionate deprivation of their liberty: Whether the incarceration of an individual is necessary to mitigate an unreasonable danger to the person or public, as no other condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure their safety.
If you are a resident of Virginia, please click the link and submit a few senteRevoke qualified immunity for police; revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly; demilitarize the police; revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured (anyone who struggles against an arrest can be charged with felony assault. It’s a minimum six month sentence. In the case of the protestors, several cops grab one, pounce on them and then charge them with felony assault if one of them gets elbowed in the struggle).
On June 15, 2020 I was practicing my constitutional rights of free speech and the right to assemble. While standing in a crowd of people near the police precinct, while on my phone, the phone was shot out of my hand. It was head level and struck my hand while the person next to me said they felt something hit their leg. I have also been subject to tear gas on Multiple occasions, pepper spray, use of flash bangs and rubber bullets. When the police shot for my phone they very easily could have missed and hit me or someone in the head in the crowd. What if I moved? Why am I being tear gassed when it is a war crime and illegal? Why will the Richmond police not release how much money they are spending on their airplane surveillance? Not knowing is not acceptable when the public pays the bill. And why won’t the police wear masks when they terrorize us? It’s a pandemic and not safe for us or them. Thank you
I am writing to ask for: - An end to qualified immunity - Demilitarization of police - Redirecting funds from police to other social services and expanding the training required for first responders - Removing the option to for police to declare an “unlawful assembly” - Use of weapons by police against peaceful protestors - An end to felony assault options when no police are injured
I am requesting: Revoke qualified immunity for police Create position of crisis intervention role trained to de-escalate Revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly Demilitarize the police Revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured Increase/Redirect funding for mental health services for citizens and officers in crisis Increase training for crisis response for all officers regardless of position/tenure Require annual crisis/mental health training hours for all officers Automatic consequences when domestic violence charges are filled against officers Anger management courses/interventions/evaluations required to be completed at least annually.
If we admit the system if flawed then the prisoners that have been victim to things such as Jury sentencing need relief! Why do we keep ducking this. This needs to happen now. Let the prisoners earn their way out earlier if their behavior calls for it! PASS DON SCOTTS EARNED GOOD TIME BILL NOW.
I am requesting: Revoke qualified immunity for police Revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly Demilitarize the police Revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured (anyone who struggles against an arrest can be charged with felony assault. It’s a minimum six month sentence. In the case of the protestors, several cops grab one, pounce on them and then charge them with felony assault if one of them gets elbowed in the struggle). Increase/Redirect funding for mental health services for citizens and officers in crisis Increase training for crisis response for all officers regardless of position/tenure Require annual crisis/mental health training hours for all officers Automatic consequences when domestic violence charges are filled against officers Domestic violence allegations against officers automatically transferred to another jurisdiction that has no conflict of interest Anger management courses/interventions/evaluations required to be completed at least annually.
Revoke qualified immunity for police; revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly; demilitarize the police; revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t actually injured.
Revoke qualified immunity for police; revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly; demilitarize the police; revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured (anyone who struggles against an arrest can be charged with felony assault. It’s a minimum six month sentence. Thank You for your time. Stuart Carwile
We need police reform! Fund social service orgs and non profits, require licensure for social workers, reduce police response to violent crime only. Revoke qualified immunity for police; revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly; demilitarize the police; revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured. Keep everyone safe. Stop tear gassing and firing rubber bullets at protestors.
I request the following: -Revoke qualified immunity for police -Revoke the right of police to declare an unlawful assembly -Demilitarize the police -Revoke laws that allow for felony assault charges when an officer isn’t injured Police have too much power and are no longer protecting us. They are now working against citizens. This must end. We will never heal as a country of changes like what’s requested above don’t happen.
I know that you are eager to inact legislation regarding police reform. Please keep in mind that you have been hearing from a small number of Virginians who have been very vocal in their demonstrations. There are large numbers of us who do not want police departments to be defunded. Your decisions will impact all citizens. I fear that many of us have been apathetic and not willing to engage any of our elected officials. I wanted to be sure that I give voice to my concerns. Thanks for your cosideration.
Like many white people in Virginia, I had no idea how widespread a problem police brutality was until recently. The actions of Richmond police and Virginia State Police have left me sickened and angry. Please revoke the right of police to issue “unlawful assembly” orders; please revoke their qualified immunity; please revoke all laws that allow felony assault charges when an officer is not hurt; please demilitarize them; please do something real to reform the criminal justice system that supports police brutality. They are supposed to protect the community and residents; what they have turned into is an organization that tries to brutally force respect for its members. We never wanted that.
Considering character limit, I will paraphrase my points, please excuse any lapse in grammatical correctness in favor of character brevity. PD Internal affairs is comprised entirely of police, so how can they say they’re “unbiased” about assessing complaints? Put multiple civilians on every internal affairs committee. Teachers must maintain teaching license, renewing with effort every 5 yrs (out of their own pockets), so too should cops have to do this, includes: passing tests on new (relevant) laws each year, completing a certain # of professional development curriculum hours in 5 yrs, maintaining certification in essential skills. Military to PD job transition needs to have specialized training to deprogram military responses in favor of community responses. Cops should be able to be fired permanently (FP), no rehiring anywhere in VA, reasons to be given in live meeting, some examples to follow: Cops who turn off, tamper with, fail to turn on, or otherwise obscure bodycam/dashcams or the subsequent upload of the footage should be FP. Cops who tell other officers to turn off cams also FP. Cop testimony is null and void in the absence of their own footage. Cops who deliberately cover badge numbers should also be considered for FP. Violations committed by LEO should be public record. Cops who confiscate, destroy, or tamper with a civilian's phone should be FP, cell footage is for OUR safety. If LEO is found to be in KKK, a historically murderous hate group, this is conflict of interest and the LEO should be FP. Please double check that VA is not one of the states that has a "legal loophole" that inadvertently allows cops to rape detainees. If loophole still exists, close it (possible federal grant for doing so).
We call upon Virginia Legislature to ban the use of rubber bullets and other Kinetic Impact Projectiles (KIPs) by law enforcement for crowd control in the state of Virginia. Over the past few months, Americans have protested nation-wide due to the senseless killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many more by police officers. During these protests, police have utilized rubber bullets as a tactic to disperse crowds; however, according to the non-profit Physicians for Human Rights (https://phr.org/our-work/resources/lethal-in-disguise/) and the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/kinetic_impact_projectiles.pdf), rubber bullets are not appropriate weapons for use in crowd-control settings. The non-lethal status of these weapons has been called into question, given they can cause blindness, bone fractures, severe organ damage, and death. A meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal (https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/12/e018154) found that 15% of patients treated for KIP injuries were permanently disabled and 3% of patients died from their wounds. Rubber bullets can be inaccurate when fired from long distances and lethal when fired at close range. Other countries such as the UK have discontinued the use of these weapons due to their questionable safety. This would be a step towards ending police brutality and ensuring our constitutional right to peacefully protest. Join us in calling for immediate action to ban the use of rubber bullets by police in Virginia.
Recruitment has been difficult for all counties and cities in pre-covid,pre-riot times. In previous years only 4 of 100 applicants were employable. This is Fairfax County where police get $87,000 per year average pay and violent crime is very low. After the reforms, the applicants will be of lower quality. Who wants to get pelted with bottles and spit on? They will hide from crime and be hesitant to use force when necessary. In the movie A Clockwork Orange, the thugs became the police as there was no other employer to take them. A similar dystopia awaits. Keep the felony assault protection. Ditch the union protection. FDR warned us about government unions.
Local Civilian Review Boards must be given subpoena powers. We need to strengthen the ability to remove problem officers from the police force. If fired, they should have their license pulled and be on a list that alerts other jurisdictions that they have been fired for cause.
Too often I have seen interactions start with a simple Drunk in Public and end with an Assault on Law Enforcement. I understand and support our need to protect our police force, but the statute is overly broad and being abused. A prime example is when an officer contacts an intoxicated person who makes a poor decision and resists being put in handcuffs or grabs the officer's arm. These cases should be prosecuted as Obstruction/Resisting, but are often charged and later convicted as Assault on Law Enforcement with a six month mandatory minimum. To be clear, in these cases, the officers suffer no injury, and are only briefly inconvenienced in completing their duties. The statute should protect officers from actual harmful batteries against while performing their jobs, but not intoxicated and frequently mentally ill people or offer up token resistance. The statute needs to be reworked with a better definition for the conduct this statute includes. There need not be a mandatory minimum incarceration period. Sentencing guidelines take care of the range of punishment and the court should have the discretion to punish an individual based on the nature of the conduct and not be bound by mandatory minimums that don't look at individual behavior. Furthermore, de minimus behavior should not be included in the statute. Clarification is needed on what is Obstruction and what is an Assault. Lastly, the statute should include a misdemeanor version of Assault on Law Enforcement that covers behavior such as elbowing during an arrest, or kicking while being held on the ground. This behavior is often the result of impassioned people who are scared and feel like they are being targeted and assaulted themselves. A misdemeanor version would document the conduct, differentiate it from a simple assault and battery, and yet not have the same ramifications of felony, which destroys so many lives.