VBPD Union calls for policy changes in light of recent police killings

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 17:31:51-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The VBPD Union wrote a letter to city officials expressing safety concerns after recent police killings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

The letter reads:

Dear Chief Cervera:
Policing has always been a noble, yet difficult and dangerous, profession. Each generation has faced its own unique challenges. Recently, it has become painfully obvious that a new, more dangerous, era is upon us. Since the events of Ferguson the list of violence waged upon officers is staggering. Premeditated attacks have taken place in Las Vegas, New York, and Dallas among other cities. Assaults on “Routine” calls and traffic stops seem to be common place. We have no reason to believe, nor do we have the luxury to believe, this will end any time soon.

In the wake of the most recent attack in Dallas it has become incumbent upon this organization to address the topic of officer Safety. The department, and our city, has no higher responsibility to its officers than this. By extension a well protected officer equates to a well protected citizenry. We now believe a serious audit of policy and procedure should be undertaken.

Manpower is at an already dangerous level. A level that will undoubtedly become worse as our city grows. This must be addressed now before it becomes too late and we are trying desperately to catch up.

At a minimum we must dispatch two officers to calls for service. I know of a very few situations that would require fewer. It should be up to the primary officer to assess, and justify his or her need for assistance. This basic practice falls very much in line with the philosophy taught throughout our organization known as ICS. We must decide between having calls for service handled quickly or having them handled safely and correctly. Officers, Supervisors and Dispatchers alike, must work in concert to assure a safe and proper resolution to all calls for service.

The rush to disarm the police through the concept of “demilitarization” must be resisted. This can only endanger lives of both citizens and officers alike. What comes to mind when we read the following names of Cities: Columbine..Boston..Dallas..New York City..Orlando..Charleston..San Bernardino? We have no reason to believe that we will not be added to this unfortunate list. How we respond will be how we are remembered.

We must not make cuts to our training and equipment budgets. In fact, we must find a way to increase our budgets. We must hire qualified officers to fill our many vacant spots.

We must work harder to retain the officers we do have.

We call upon you, city council and the city manager to give serious consideration to our concerns.