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How possible is police reform in Virginia?

Recently, Virginia democrats moved toward police reform advancement during a special legislative meeting. However, GOP legislators assert that police reform proposals are detrimental to law enforcement.

Although there are a few exceptions, police groups are in support of most of the reform petitions in the omnibus bill that is currently moving through the Senate. These reforms would eliminate most no-knock warrants and create a code of conduct all Virginia police must adhere to. Due to criminal law and police reform mandates, the state will have the power to decertify police officers who violate the code of conduct.

What state officials are saying

John Jones, the executive director of the Virginia Sheriff’s Association, states that most of the association’s concerns pertaining to criminal law were addressed. Jones also added that he would vote in favor of the current legislation.

Wayne Huggins, Virginia State Police Association director and former Virginia State Police superintendent agreed with most of the reforms as well. Huggins stated that things are going well and that many police officers are either doing many of the things dictated in the reform bill or have plans to do so.

Democrats agreeing to some reform changes

Support for the reforms comes after the Democrats in Senate agreed to changes that have sometimes failed to meet the expectations of advocates of reform advocates. Kofi Annan, a Virginia Coalition for Transforming Police member who testified at the reform hearings, stated that the Senate is moving in the right direction overall. However, Annan also states that some Democrats are not completely happy with the most recent changes because it makes police reform changes less effective.

For instance, part of the criminal law reform bill bans police agencies from participating in a grant program from the federal government that distributes surplus military equipment
to local police now prohibits police departments from obtaining items like grenade launchers, boats, bayonets, and vehicles.

Find out more about police reform in Virginia by speaking with a criminal defense attorney. Working with a qualified attorney could help you get the justice you and your family deserve.

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