The Prince William County Police Department will use $250,000 in federal funding to examine officer’s use of force.
The money is part of the recent approval of congressional earmarks for community improvement initiatives and comes from the Department of Justice Byrne Discretionary Community Project Grants.
“I’ve worked closely with county and department leaders to make this priority a reality and look forward to the ways our officers will benefit from the new policies, trainings, and data collection recommendations we anticipate from this study,” said U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-10th, who helped secure the grant.
The police department recognizes that officer use of force “remains a critical issue in communities worthy of exploring deeper to ensure the force used is lawful and not unjustly disproportionately used against members in our communities of color,” the release said.
The plan would assess, evaluate and analyze the department’s use of force policies, training programs, police culture, supervision, de-escalation strategies and tactics with the assistance of an independent contractor.
The independent contractor will also evaluate and assess what environmental factors, or precursors are commonly associated with uses of force using the police department’s use of force data, the release said.
The contractor will recommend what adjustments may be needed in existing use of force policies and training programs.
Additionally, the contractor and agency partnership will analyze what use of force data is already being collected, what additional data should be collected and how the existing data should be interpreted and made available to the public.
This program will build on the department’s “commitment to fairness, trust, legitimacy, and transparency within the community, strengthening police and community communication and relationships, placing greater emphasis on compassion and reinforcing the sanctity of human life, and promoting better evidence-based decision-making regarding the use of force,” the release said.