The Fairfax County Civilian Review Panel and the Independent Police Auditor were established by the Board of Supervisors as recommended by the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, formed after the police shooting death of John Geer. The panel and the auditor are independent from the Police Department and report directly to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The nine-member Police Civilian Review Panel’s mission is to enhance police legitimacy and to build and maintain trust between the citizens of Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors, and the Fairfax County Police Department. The panel reviews police investigations resulting from public complaints about officers of the Fairfax County Police Department. The panel has nine members who are Fairfax County residents.
The panel reviews investigations involving police misconduct, including rudeness, threats, verbal abuse, harassment, racial profiling, and discrimination.
Current panel members are: Rhonda VanLowe, Chair; Doug Kay, Vice-Chair; Hansel Aguilar; Kathleen Davis-Siudut; Steve Descano; Hollye Doane; Anna Northcutt; Randy Sayles; Adrian Steel.
The panel generally meets in open session on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.
The Independent Police Auditor's mission is to bolster trust between the citizens of Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Police Department by providing accountability, fairness, transparency and trust in the complaint system and investigative process. The Independent Police Auditor also provides an accessible, safe, impartial, and responsive intake venue for complaints about the Fairfax County Police Department and its employees.
The Office of the Independent Police Auditor (OIPA) reviews police investigations involving use of force and serves as an independent intake venue for complaints.
Both the panel and the auditor determine whether the police investigation was thorough, accurate and impartial.
HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT
If you feel you have experienced or observed misconduct by a Fairfax County police officer, you are encouraged to file a complaint. You will not be penalized by the police or any county official for filing a complaint.
FILL OUT A COMPLAINT FORM
• You may use a printed copy of the online form.
• You may also complete a complaint form online.
Go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/policeauditor
• You may file your completed form by mailing it to: Office of the Independent Police Auditor; 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 233A; Fairfax, VA 22035
• You may file online. Instructions are provided at the website.
• You may deliver a completed complaint form to the Auditor’s Office at the above address or to any Fairfax County Police Station.
If you need help completing the form, call 703-324-3459 or email PoliceCivilianReviewPanel@fairfaxcounty.gov
HOW IT WORKS
• When a complaint is received, it is sent to the Police Department for investigation.
• Investigators interview the person who filed the complaint and witnesses.
• Police examine the evidence and write a report outlining the findings.
• The person who filed the complaint receives a letter summarizing findings of the investigation.
• If the person does not agree with the outcome of the investigation, he or she asks for a review.
• If a review is requested, either the Civilian Review Panel or the Independent Police Auditor reviews the investigation and issues a public report.
MORE ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT POLICE AUDITOR
The Board of Supervisors appointed Richard G. Schott, a 27-year Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) veteran, as Fairfax County’s first independent police auditor. Schott reports directly to the board, which approved the creation of the position as a follow up to one of the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission. Among his roles, Schott will be responsible for:
Monitoring and reviewing internal investigations of Police Department officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and use-of-force cases in which an individual is killed or seriously injured.
Requesting further investigations if he determines that an internal investigation was deficient or conclusions were not supported by the evidence.
Issuing public reports for each reviewed internal investigation.
Reviewing all resident complaint investigations of alleged excessive or unnecessary force by officers.
Producing annual reports that analyze trends and recommend improvements.
Schott has spent his entire 27-year FBI career as a special agent working with local law enforcement officers, and for the past 16 years has provided training to members of state and local law enforcement agencies, including legal issues associated with police officers’ use of force and deadly force.
He has experience with Color of Law violations, including reviewing police reports and citizen complaints, recommending to U.S. Department of Justice attorneys whether or not to proceed with investigations and conducting the ensuing investigations.
Schott is also an instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, where he has taught thousands of new agents on basic constitutional criminal procedure and the legal ramifications involved when an agent uses force.
He supervised the division’s forfeiture program. As a special agent for the Birmingham Division, he orchestrated security for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games’ soccer events in the area.
Schott received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Orleans and his juris doctorate from the Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans.