8 °C Prince George's County, US
January 23, 2019

Diversity Council Reviews Steps For Communities’ Representation in Fairfax County Police

The Chief’s Council on Diversity Recruitment guides and advises the Chief of Police and his leadership team on how to achieve the Fairfax County Police Department’s diversity recruitment goals. The Chief’s Council also reviews and recommends initiatives to ensure the Department engages with all communities throughout Fairfax County, Virginia.

The Chief’s Council on Diversity Recruitment met at the Public Safety Headquarters in Fairfax recently to review the recruitment outcomes achieved during 2014, and to discuss further steps to encourage all culturally diverse communities in Fairfax County to participate in the various opportunities for engagement with their police department.

Mr. M. Siddique Sheikh, Chairman of the Chief’s Council on Diversity Recruitment, and Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. welcomed the meeting participants. Chief Roessler noted 2014 progress in achieving its goals of hiring more culturally diverse police officer recruits.

Chief Roessler further emphasized the need for continued community assistance in attracting culturally diverse individuals to join the department in police officer, civilian employee, auxiliary police officer, volunteer, and advisory committee and council roles. The Chief also spoke about steps being taken to improve the department’s records management system and operational efficiency of the police department.

Major Joe Hill expressed FCPD’s commitment to diversity while emphasizing the department is struggling in a competitive applicant market to recruit enough people who meet the high employment standards which make the Fairfax County Police Department one of the best agencies in the country. He made it clear that the FCPD would not compromise on employment standards needed to maintain public trust in the police department.

Captain Carol Wilhite provided an update on the diverse representation within the police department’s ranks, the cultural and linguistic diversity encompassed in the 2014 criminal justice academy sessions, and hiring activity projected for 2015. She said that the FCPD is still trying to catch up on hiring to fill positions left vacant by retiring police officers. Sergeant Naveed Butt said the department was making headway in achieving its diversity goals and in reaching out to our diverse communities. Sergeant Butt also mentioned how linguistic diversity is operationally important in providing police services.

In his remarks Mr. Sheikh, who is also the Chairman of the Pakistan American Business Association (PABA), complimented Chief Roessler and his team for their efforts to promote cultural diversity within the FCPD. He said he would like to see young people join the police department which offers an attractive career path and competitive salary.

Mr. Sheikh said that FCPD’s efforts to encourage people from various communities to join the police department has resonated well with the young people and has helped increase their trust in police officers. Mr. Sheikh emphasized that aggressively reaching out to diverse communities in new ways could bring even more positive results.

Chief Roessler closed the meeting by thanking the Council for its support to the FCPD. He asked the Council to be prepared to contribute to the development of policies regarding the use of body-worn cameras and recording devices. Community input is considered to be essential in developing policies that properly balance privacy concerns, police officer accountability, and the electronic storage requirements for video and audio recordings of police officer and community member interactions.

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