Share Your Thoughts
The City of Falls Church’s Use of Force Review (UFR) Committee has launched a survey to learn more about public perception of and experiences with the City’s Police Department and Sheriff’s office.
This survey will not be statistically significant; rather, it will provide anecdotes to help the UFR Committee inform their work and eventually provide recommendations to the City Council. Once evaluated, this survey’s results will be available on the UFR Committee’s website, www.fallschurchva.gov/UFRC.
About the Committee
The UFR Committee was formed by City Council in June 2020 as part of taking the Reimagining Policing Pledge from the Obama Foundation and the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. The pledge calls on localities to review use of force policies, engage the community, report the findings to the community and seek feedback, and reform the use of force policies. The committee is comprised of seven members from the community, five City employees -- including representatives from the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office -- and one Public Schools employee.
- City Boundaries: The City of Falls Church is an independent municipality in Northern Virginia. It is completely separate from Fairfax County, although some Falls Church mailing addresses are in Fairfax County, like Seven Corners, Bailey’s Crossroads, Skyline, and Lake Barcroft. (Learn more about the City’s boundaries here.)
- Police Department Responsibilities: The City’s Police Department is responsible for the prevention, intervention, and investigation of all crimes and public safety related calls. They have a uniformed patrol unit, criminal investigations unit, dispatch, a school resource officer, and animal control.
- Sheriff’s Office Responsibilities: The City’s Sheriff’s Office is a state law enforcement agency responsible for court security, prisoner transport, and civil and criminal processes (evictions, tax levies, and seizures). The deputies assist with traffic enforcement, emergency response, and security for events like parades and festivals.
- Use of Force: According to the National Institute of Justice, the use of force by law enforcement officers becomes necessary and is permitted under specific circumstances, such as in self-defense or in defense of another individual or group.
There is no single, universally agreed-upon definition of use of force. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has described use of force as the “amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” Officers and deputies receive guidance on use of force from their individual agencies.