VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach Police Department released a statement on police accountability, in which Interim Chief Tony Zucaro wrote the force was "not perfect" but they "can and will be better."
In the letter, Zucaro condemned the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, and outlined some steps the department was taking to ensure people were treated with respect.
Here's some of the points Zucaro touched on:
- The department is emphasizing de-escalation tactics
- VB Police has team training on crisis intervention
- Each use of force is evaluated for policy and training compliance
- The Office of Internal Affairs investigates uses of force that don't comply with policy and training
- Kneeling on people's necks to restrain them is, and has been, prohibited
- The department has started using "soft-wrap" restraints that reduce a person's risk of "positional asphyxia"
- Department training requires other police officers to step in when one officer is violating policy
- The department said it will internally investigate instances where suspects think they've been the victim of "bias-based treatment"
With last year's policies, Zucaro said "our officers used force in less than two-tenths of a percent of all citizen contacts in 2019," but also said the department wanted to "make a better tomorrow."
He called for open dialogue in the fight for a better future.
"I highlight these efforts to reaffirm your confidence in our agency and to ask that you not lose faith in the men and women who so selflessly serve this community," he wrote. "We fully support your right to peacefully assemble and to demonstrate against the very circumstances that brought about so much anger."