General Orders are statements of policy relating to major operational and administrative areas. The underlying purpose of the manual is to achieve uniformity and an orderly approach to the accomplishment of the Falls Church Police Department's goals.
While the manual does set forth specific procedures to which adherence is expected, it is not intended to address all situations encountered by members of the Department. The judicious exercise of discretion is often required; and, with this in mind, the manual serves as a supplement to individual training and experience. Certain information, such as tactics, may be redacted or omitted so as not to compromise the safety of officers.
The Use of Force Review Committee (UFRC) was created by the City Council in June 2020 to review the City of Falls Church Public Safety Team (comprised of the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office) use of force policies and procedures, engage the community to gain insight into their experiences, report the findings of the review and community experiences, and make recommendations for changes to use of force policies and procedures. In February 2021, the UFRC delivered its final report to the City Council which included ten recommendations to enhance use of force policies and procedures, all of which can be viewed at www.fallschurchva.gov/UFRC.
Recommendation Area 9 of the UFRC report is to improve the processes and systems used to manage General Orders and their review. In Summer 2021, the Falls Church Police Department established a policy review workgroup, comprised of officers and civilian personnel from within the department, to examine each General Order and ensure that each policy reflects best practices and is reflective of the highest levels of professionalism our community expects from its Police Department. A revised General Order Manual was fully released in June 2022 and will be periodically updated and amended to reflect changes in law and to meet the needs of its users in terms of City code and departmental policies.