Fairfax Co. to hire police watchdog in response to ’13 fatal shooting

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County supervisors voted Tuesday to create a full-time, independent police auditor position.

The move fulfills one of hundreds of recommendations by the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission after the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in the doorway of his Springfield, Virginia, home in August 2013.

Former Fairfax County police officer Adam Torres pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for shooting John Geer. Police were criticized for delaying the investigation into Geer’s death and failing to cooperate with prosecutors.

The new position of independent auditor will not conduct investigations. The auditor will report to civilian authorities his or her observations of police investigations into police interaction with the public that result in someone being hurt or killed or allegations of inappropriate use of force.

“To make that review more substantive, the review begins during the course of the actual police investigation,” Supervisor John Cook, R-Braddock, said before Tuesday’s vote. “The auditor is involved in monitoring and making recommendations throughout the course of the police investigation.”

The new auditor’s office also will analyze police policy and practices related to the use of force.

The auditor job will be advertised soon. A detailed draft job description can be found here.

The draft job posting indicates the yearly salary will be based on knowledge and experience could range from $98,199 to $163,665.

The vote approving the position is final. But county supervisors are free to adjust expectations and responsibilities for the auditor and auditor’s office at will.

“We can change, amend (and) add in the future as circumstances may warrant,” Cook said.

County leaders still are working to solidify plans to create a civilian review panel to respond to complaints of alleged abuse of police authority.

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