New survey hopes to improve policing in Fairfax County

Fairfax County residents will see the survey pop up where ads tend to display on their internet browsers. (Courtesy Fairfax County Police)

The Fairfax County Police Department is hoping residents will weigh in on public safety via a new online survey, popping up on browsers in the county over the next year.

The department has announced the launch of its yearlong partnership with Zencity, who will create the questions, to survey Fairfax County residents about their perceptions of safety.

The answers collected can be used to inform policy and how the department uses its resources.

Residents who stumble upon the poll, or ads for the poll while browsing, won’t know they are looking at an “official” police survey.

“(The ad) won’t say police, or picture or police on it, because that can create some biases,” said Maj. James Krause. “So what they do is use a general picture from someplace in Fairfax County, like a landmark.”

The survey aims to capture the sentiment of differing ages, races and communities. It is also available in nine languages, reflecting the diversity of the county.

“Some areas are heavy, very urbanized … for example, up in Tysons. There (are) also more suburban parts of the county. So every part of the county has different opinions and different points of view on things,” Krause said.

The department says it will review results from the poll monthly and tailor its operations according to what it learns.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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