Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said his priorities for making changes to policing in the state in the wake of protests calling for reform include increasing transparency and pattern of practice investigations.
“We cannot have different standards of justice based on the color of your skin,” Herring said.
His comments came during Virginians Speak, a Dialogue on Policing Reform, Community and Law Enforcement in Virginia, a virtual discussion co-sponsored by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church on Tuesday.
“We place an immense power in the hands of a police officer, and we need to treat law enforcement as a profession that is highly skilled and requires specialized training and high standards.”
He said he intends to make his plans for police reform clear during the special session of the Virginia General Assembly next week.
“We’ve got such an opportunity to really move our commonwealth to make it a place where justice and equality and opportunity is real for everybody,” Herring said.
Chief Kenneth Miller of the Petersburg Police Department also spoke during the event. He said that he believes the officers on the streets are not getting the training they need.
“I think we spend a lot of time on leadership at the upper echelon level or the supervisory level and we don’t do leadership a lot at the patrol officer or deputy sheriff level,” Miller said.
“They truly are the leaders. They’re the ones that go into the communities and do problem-solving and engaging a lot. If they can’t get it right there, the whole organization goes sour.”