Police Advisory Committee to Lack Powers

Seth Rosen at the Progress had some interesting news on Saturday that I don’t want to let slip by. The still-forming police advisory committee won’t have investigative powers, the city has decided. The panel, made up of Charlottesville citizens, will apparently have no power, other than (presumably) to raise a stink if they see something inappropriate going on. The last such group to exist in the city — active from 1990-97 — had the ability to interview witnesses and access internal misconduct complaints. Chief Timothy Longo points to the 17/45 rate of sustaining complaints of rule violations against officers last year as a sign that the police department is willing to discipline its officers.

86 Responses to “Police Advisory Committee to Lack Powers”

  • Chief Timothy Longo points to the 17/45 rate of sustaining complaints of rule violations against officers last year as a sign that the police department is willing to discipline its officers???

    This simply means that at least a few of the remaining 28 citizens received no justice whatsoever.

    Wanna see how cops lie? Watch the video in this link….


  • “We would advise your officers to stop driving 60 MPH down residential city streets.”
    “Great. We will take that under advisement!”

  • You got that right, Stuart! Nobody cares about their speeding. A few years ago I voiced a concern about an officer driving 95 mph down 5th Street Extended during a pursuit (officer’s own confession on police frequency, officer stated he was running 95 mph and the suspect was still pulling away from him!). This concern fell on deaf ears. And IMHO Chief Longo has already admitted this advisary committee is a total waste of time.
    And Chief Timothy Longo points to the 17/45 rate of sustaining complaints of rule violations against officers last year as a sign that the police department is willing to discipline its officers???? All this means is at least a few of the remaining 28 citizens received no justice whatsoever.

  • I wonder what the Advisory Committee would sugeest in a case like this. And I wonder what Longo would do?

    Read this thread and click on the video link to view the video. Pretty pathetic officer conduct.


  • Council wanted it but the City Manager and the Police Chief did not.

    The solution, pitched from inside city hall by the string pullers, was to design the panel in such a way that it looks like it’s real but, in fact, means nothing. They’ve done exactly that.

    The farse starts with McConnell getting to pick who’s on the board — and they already have a couple of people “on board” with their plans. Watch and see who he picks; it’ll be a bunch of knodding heads, chamber buddies and not one person with any inclination to hold up their hand and say “hey, wait a minute.”

    Unless council gets the courage to demand more from McConnell and Longo AND force those changes (review parameters and board selection as two starting points) the citizens committee will be little more than one more C’ville waste of time and money.

  • “And Chief Timothy Longo points to the 17/45 rate of sustaining complaints of rule violations against officers last year as a sign that the police department is willing to discipline its officers???? All this means is at least a few of the remaining 28 citizens received no justice whatsoever.”

    Or it could mean that 28 of the complaints were found to be without merit. I wouldn’t assume that just because a citizen files a complaint it’s a valid and there is any justice to be served.

    That said, there doesn’t seem to be any point to having such a body without any authority. When the police department starts telling the elected officials what they will and won’t accept in the form of oversight, it’s time to replace the PD leadership with individuals who adhere to the idea that they are accountable to the council and people, not the other way around.

  • I think the police public relations will markedly improve when officers are instructed to follow the same laws they are sworn to enforce. Citizens, if they acted in the same manner as police and disregarded minor traffic and parking laws, would be ticketed.

    I realize there are times, when police are engaged in legitimate duties, disregard for traffic laws is appropriate. At all other times, to set an example, if nothing else, officers should be above reproach in their conduct.

    I write this, not necessarily as criticism, but as a suggestion to Chief Longo, that public relations with his force will improve if the officers paid respect to the laws and not “badge” their way around town.

    It`s a job, not a private club, with extraordinary rights and priveleges.

  • Unfortunately, since we have no idea what the complaints were, we have no idea whether those remaining 28 citizens were well-served or not. That’s ultimately the frustrating part of the equation.

    It’s probably the nature of the business of policing that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is going to second-guess everything you do and have “helpful” suggestions as to how you could have done it better. Cops have to put up with a lot of crap, and are usually far more gracious about it than most of us would be. Frankly, there are a lot of misconceptions about police work. But when you add in the dangerous element of the few genuinely bad cops out there, and the mistrust in the community they’ve created, you’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed.

    Personally, I like and trust Tim Longo. He’s by no means perfect (much like the rest of us), but he’s a good Chief. However, I find the proposed lack of oversight in this committee very troubling. The last thing this city needs is yet another committee made up of Hooray Harrys from the Chamber and Downtown business owners.

    I can understand Longo thinking that he knows a heck of a lot more than most of us about the job of policing and is in a better position to handle sensitive IA issues, especially since that’s a particular area of expertise of his. But a committee invested with the power to hear complaints could be a really positive thing for both the police and the citizenry. It’s a win-win for everyone, but Tim Longo can be forgiven for not seeing that way.

  • We would advise your officers to quit being such di–heads.
    Thank you very much.

  • I wish I had ten dollars for every complaint with merit filed nationwide where chiefs have claimed their officers did nothing wrong. I could permanently retire and never have to worry about anything the rest of my life.
    I once voiced a concern that police officers parked their cars a block away out of view and walked to my home on foot, in total darkness at 10:30 p.m. on a cold winter night. They were circling my home and peeping in the windows (sounds like a crime, eh?) when they aroused my dog outdoors. My dog alerted me that somebody was trespassing on my property. Suppose I had gone outside with a firearm in my hand? Would I be here typing this right now? Could it possibly have been a setup to justify shooting me? I can see the headlines now, “He approached our officers with a weapon aimed at them, we had no choice but to shoot and kill him!” What the hell was so hard about pulling up out front in a marked police car and knocking on my front door? Considering all of the shift commanders knew me on a first name basis, what the hell was wrong with calling me on the phone? They placed themselves in danger. They placed me in danger. There was no damn excuse for this three ring circus. Just keep on believing they are professionally trained and act accordingly. When the top dog (Longo) goes home at 5:00 p.m., I don’t think he has a clue as to how they behave out here.

  • I Made it #1 you made it 17th

    F#@* the police common straight from the underground! I do not like cops at all but this is not something that we have to do!

    I wish City Council had an elected Mayor so they had more oversight.

    Lets go onto some streets in this city late and night and see how safe you feel, with guns going off every night, how safe do you think you are here? Not as safe as you think people. Get cops on the beat and pay them to live here.

  • Anybody who thinks they are safe on the streets of Charlottesville after dark are living in a fantasy world. People need to seek the proper training, obtain concealed weapons permits and arm themselves. It’s that simple.

  • Eh, I don’t buy it. At what likelihood of being a victim of a crime can you not be considered to be safe? 5% 1% 1/10%? If you can show that the likelihood of being victimized at nighttime in Charlottesville is comparable to the likelihood of being victimized in areas of the world that are well-documented as being dangerous, we can talk. But based solely on your assertion, I just can’t buy it.

  • I’m quite sure the victims of the home invasion and armed robbery on Park Street recently didn’t buy it either before becoming victims. Let’s assume the city has 42,000 residents. This would have made their chances of becoming victims of a serious crime 1 in 21,000. But they still became victims of a very serious and traumatic crime. And the young lady recently murdered on Saint Clair Avenue had a 1 in 42,000 chance of becoming a murder victim. The most important thing to remember is that crime is only going to get worse. Especially as we enter a pretty serious depression. All I am advocating is that citizens arm themselves. It is one of their Constitutioanl rights anyway. One of my neighbors had a crackhead attempting to break in his basement door a week ago at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. He responded downstairs with a laoded weapon and chased the guy off personally. He didn’t even waste the time to report it to the police. Because another neighbor had his high end stereo system stolen out of a new truck, provided the license plate of the getaway car, and nothing ever cme of it even after the police responded and took a report. In the vast majority of cases, the police can not protect you. They only respond after a crime has been committed.
    Notwithstanding all of the above, sadly enough, a citizen can’t really protect themselves financially either. If my neighbor had shot the crackhead trying to kick in his basement door, he would have been indicted on manslaughter charges and had to spend $50,000 in defense fees. But it’s better than being dead I suppose. What a mess this world is in!

  • I don’t want to be rude here, but neither your logic nor your mathematics are up to snuff. Nobody doubts that crime exists. Nobody doubts that absolutely terrible crimes are sometimes committed. But neither of those things support your claim that everybody should arm themselves and not go outside after dark. You’re describing something in that vast area between anarchy and martial law that does not jibe with reality.

    If you’d simply like to assert that you think that crime levels are unacceptable, and that it’s your belief that people should be armed to be safe, I’m not about to argue with that. (Not because I agree, but because, hey, you can hold whatever opinion that you want.) But it’s flat-out wrong to present these things as fact without any actual facts to back them up. Such serious claims require serious documentation, and your misleading vividness doesn’t qualify.

  • I Made it #1 you made it 17th

    Park St Home Invasion? When was that?

    Crime Tables from 06
    Actually in some areas we are worse the DC, LA and Long beach just to name a few. Not Violent crimes but rape, theft etc per 100,000
    take a look


  • I’m not suggesting that people not go out after dark. The entire country lives in enough fear already created by Osama Bin Laden. I’m simply suggesting that people better prepare themselves to defend their families.
    I’m also not sure why you doubt my mathematics. If we say the city has 42,000 residents, the recent murder victim didn’t have a 1 in 42,000 chance of being killed????
    Crime is much worse in this area than people are being led to believe. A lot of it is not even reported to the public any longer, for whatever reason. For example, did you know the Joy Food Store (gas station) on East High Street was robbed again last week? The manager told me about it this morning.
    At the end of the year 2007, because of the current depression and inflation, any sheriff or police chief who reports a drop in serious crime should be run out of their city or county.

  • Demopublican, I think you confuse the murder rate with the chance of being killed by a stranger on the streets of this city. You chance of being killed during a drug deal gone bad or by crazied spouse or friend is MUCH higher than a random act of violence in cville.
    I’m not saying you don’t have the right to protect your family but the stats say you more likely to be killed by a spouse or family member who has a gun in their house than by a stranger breaking into a house without a gun.

  • I made it #1 you made it 17th

    DEMO Remember around 31,000 a year commit suicide and 15,000 get killed.
    However the stats on reported crimes that are non violent are higher per capita than some major cities and that is not new.

  • Perlogik hit the nail on the head. For purposes of prevention, there are two types of violent crimes — between acquaintances and not between acquaintances. In the case of a murder/suicide, such as took place in Madison this past weekend, there’s very little that police can do about that. On the other hand, in the case of ongoing random assaults of pedestrians after dark, there’s a great deal that police can do.

    If we routinely had bar fights that resulted in serious assaults and even murder, that wouldn’t mean that it’s not safe after dark. It would mean that it’s not safe to get in a pissing match with a guy named “Tank” in a bar. (No offense to Tank, natch.)

    I’m very interested in the assertion that nonviolent crimes are higher per capita in Charlottesville than in some major cities. I’ve just got a single criminology class under my belt, but those are some numbers I’d love to peer into.

  • I made it #1 you made it 17th

    Take a a look yourself. Not that I by into all these numbers myself, but the data is interesting to read. Compare the last 5 tables with a few big cities and see for yourself.


    We all know crack is everywhere in this city. The old saying I always heard as a kid, and know something about is “Charlottesville Eats it’s Young.”

  • Make it 17th, yes, home invasion on Park Street. About 6 months ago maybe. Husband and wife approached inside their home by 2 total strangers and robbed within their own home by them late one evening. This is one of the reasons why 3 cops having business to conduct with me, parking their cars blocks away out of view, and circling my house on foot while peeping in my windows put them and I both in grave danger. When I finally walked outside to see who these thugs were playing around outside my home total darkness, what if I had gone out with a weapon in my hand? I still to this day wonder why God sent me outside without a weapon in my hand. It had to be divine intervention. There was no damn reason they couldn’t pull up out in front of my house in a marked police car and knock on my front door. These are the types of citizen conccerns and issues the Advisory Committee should have some teeth in when dealing with such. Because the chief of police wouldn’t even discuss it with me as a taxpayer and concerned citizen. It was an officer safety concern, and a citizen safety concern. By the way, isn’t peeping in a person’s windows a crime? The cops can break the law to enforce the law?
    And Perlogik, I am not confusing the murder rate with anything in my assessment of the chances of getting murdered. Based on a population of 42,000, if Charlottesville has 4 murders this year, my chances are 1 in 10,500 of being one of the deceased victims. It doesn’t matter if some crackhead knifes me, some armed robber shoots me in the head, or if my wife pushes me off the Monticello Hotel. Dead is dead. Murder is murder.

  • Ahh, by the letter of the law the cops committed a Class 1 misdemeanor. They were not exempted by law. The criminal investigation had been completed and was over. The cops were simply attempting to serve a summons. Interesting, isn’t it?


    § 18.2-130. Peeping or spying into dwelling or enclosure.

    A. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon the property of another and secretly or furtively peep, spy or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure of any nature occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, or to do the same, without just cause, upon property owned by him and leased or rented to another under circumstances that would violate the occupant’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

    B. It shall be unlawful for any person to use a peephole or other aperture to secretly or furtively peep, spy or attempt to peep or spy into a restroom, dressing room, locker room, hotel room, motel room, tanning bed, tanning booth, bedroom or other location or enclosure for the purpose of viewing any nonconsenting person who is totally nude, clad in undergarments, or in a state of undress exposing the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast and the circumstances are such that the person would otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a lawful criminal investigation or a correctional official or local or regional jail official conducting surveillance for security purposes or during an investigation of alleged misconduct involving a person committed to the Department of Corrections or to a local or regional jail.

    D. As used in this section, “peephole” means any hole, crack or other similar opening through which a person can see.

    E. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    (Code 1950, § 18.1-174; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1992, c. 520; 1999, c. 351; 2003, cc. 81, 87.)

  • And Perlogik, I am not confusing the murder rate with anything in my assessment of the chances of getting murdered. Based on a population of 42,000, if Charlottesville has 4 murders this year, my chances are 1 in 10,500 of being one of the deceased victims. It doesn’t matter if some crackhead knifes me, some armed robber shoots me in the head, or if my wife pushes me off the Monticello Hotel. Dead is dead. Murder is murder.

    You’re in a restaurant. Ninety nine other people are in the restaurant. A woman who you do not know walks in to meet her husband to have dinner with him. What are the odds that she’s going to have dinner with you?

  • A police Advisory Committe should have the right to approach a Grand Jury and seek manslaughter charges when a police department and commonwealth’s attorney won’t (I guess they could if they really felt strongly about an issue and wanted to do so). In the below link a 22-year-old rookie runs a red light and kills a young lady. All she is charged with is reckless driving. When the decision is left in the hands of judicial figures you can’t expect cops to pay for their mistakes. Had an ordinary citizen run this red light they would be facing manslaughter charges.


  • Waldo, you might say the odds depend on how many “males” are in the restaurant. If 50, the odds are 1 in 50.

    But I would say I do not recall if same sex marriages are legal in Virginia now or not. So I would have to say the odds are as high as 1 in 99.

  • The odds are not 1 in 99 or even 1 in 50. The odds are, in fact, very slim that she will have dinner with you. She is there to have dinner with her husband.

    The same is true for victims of murder. They generally have a connection to the perp … be it a friend, relative, or some type of transaction (a drug deal gone bad, as stated earlier.)

    So if you live in a town of 100,000 that has 1 murder per year, your odds of being murdered are not 1 in 100,000. They are far less than that (unless you are the drug user/dealer in the above drug deal gone bad.)

    I think that is all Waldo is trying to say. you can’t just do straight math on this case to find the odds. There is much more at work here.

  • Murder is murder and logic is logic
    murder by strangers is still murder
    murder is rarely by strangers.

    I live life based on real chances, i.e. I do not fear getting killed by lighting either but I don’t stand outside with a golf club above my head on a hill during a thunder storm becaue the odds are vastly in my favor.

    Of course I have played the lottery, really I’m much better at math than that

    On topic: this police board is worthless and is another reason I see Chief Longo as a credible a lawman as he once may have been.

  • One can do pure probability routines if the problem is reduced to “families” of participants. For example murder victims by a stranger; murder victim by a spouse; murder victim during armed robbery, etc. Then work the odds of an individual involvement based upon many social and environmental factors accruing to the indicvidual concerned.

    Of course the keeper of the stats has a monumental advantage in the presentation and that is tremendous advantage to the proponent.

    I`m too tired to work the problem but the solutions are there if one takes the time. I expect one could work it into a Monte Carlo routine in some fashion.

  • I meant to say Chief Longo was not as credible a lawman as he once may have been.

  • You meant to say Chief Longo was not as credible a lawman as he once may have been????? Well, we certainly agree on that one point!
    I still don’t understand why any of us are arguing over the odds of getting killed in the city tonight. You have a 1 in 42,000 chance of getting murdered in the city tonight if a murder takes place. All the variables are totally irrelevant.

  • While 1 in 42000 is correct, I believe my point is to what can be done about not making that stat lower than that. I will do nothing different to my life with those odds. My point was how not to lower those odds and that is relevant.
    For example by being a young black male would make my chances (according to stats) much lower that 42000 to 1. Just as working at a late might 7-11 or being a cop would.

    Being killed in a home invasion or by a stranger is a terrible thing and yes you are just as dead. How you use that information to live your life is the point.

  • I Made it #1 you made it 17th

    The odds increase if you:
    Smoke Crack
    Sell Crack
    Sleep with someones wife
    Listen to crappy music near me.
    Play crappy music on the mall and think you cool.
    Have a gun in your house.

  • Here’s another totally shocking event where an Advisory Committee should have teeth in dealing with the foolishness.


  • “When the police department starts telling the elected officials what they will and won’t accept in the form of oversight, it’s time to replace the PD leadership with individuals who adhere to the idea that they are accountable to the council and people, not the other way around.” Actually, it’s time to change city council. If council has no control over the police department, why would anybody expect a committee of unelected citizens would? How many of the committees appointed by council actually have any knowledge about the area the committee deals with? The whole idea of this committee is ridiculous. And the idea that this committee should have the power to go before a grand jury, wasting its time with a lot of hot air, is frightening. One would think that intelligent people in other localities would want to know why the former police oversight committee just stopped meeting before defining and appointing a new committee, but one knows not to think that when it comes to Charlottsville.

  • I still don’t understand why any of us are arguing over the odds of getting killed in the city tonight. You have a 1 in 42,000 chance of getting murdered in the city tonight if a murder takes place. All the variables are totally irrelevant.

    Again, I’m afraid your logic is just as faulty as your assertion that the wife — who is not your own — will have dinner with you when she walks into that restaurant. As the odds are vanishingly close to 0% that she’ll eat with you, so too are the odds vanishingly close to 0% that you or I will be murdered tonight.

    If I lock myself in my underground panic room tonight, are my odds still one in 42,000? How about if I head to a less savory part of town, pistol tucked into the back of my jeans, and try to buy crack? Are my odds still one in 42,000? Do you think it’s possible that some people are more likely to be murdered than others? Or do you think of it as being basically like the lottery? And if so, why carry a gun — when your number’s up, your number’s right…right?

  • Waldo the odds 42000 to 1 for the year. Your odds of getting murdered tonight are 1/365 of that so about 15 million to 1 whether you buy crack or not!

  • If I’d have known the odds were that good,
    I’d have started doing crack a long time back.

    I have met Chief Longo on many occasions and feel that he is a decent guy. I know this goes against the opinions of some on this blog, but my opinion is that he is a man with a hard job. His department is understaffed and C-ville has some serious issues with race and economic inequality. We also have our fair share of dopes who will simply hate the cops no matter what.

  • I agree with Cynic. The police force here has many challenges. Some are not up to the challenge- but many are and to paint with such a broad stroke does a disservice to all the great officers who sacrifice a great deal to protect us. It is not an easy job, and the hell the officers get is unbelievable. Most are just doing their job.

  • Getting back to the restaurant debate… if the husband doesn’t show up and the lady wanders off and sits at the bar crying, there’s a pretty good chance I would try to lay some charm on her and invite her to dinner. So the odds may or may not be near 0%.
    And yes, I misread the fact you said she does not know me. It happens when I am trying to do 3 things at the same time. And this happens often. Paperwork, talking to people on the phone and one eye trained on the blogs and keyboard. This is also why I make so many typos.

  • Waldo, if you lock yourself in an undeground panic room tonight, no, your odds at being a murdered city resident are not still 1 in 42,000. At the same time, if you are in Boulder, Colorado on a business trip your odds of being a murdered city resident are also not 1 in 42,000. We’re creating parameters now that just aren’t the norm. And yes, I think murder is basically like the lottery. Not one intelligent person on the face of the earth would have thought the young girl on Saint Clair Avenue would have been murdered on that particular evening recently. If you head to a less savory part of town, pistol tucked into the back of your jeans, and try to buy crack I think your odds at being murdered are much lower than the girl on Saint Clair Avenue. You would be there as a “customer”, and the drug dealers don’t usually murder their customers. The drug dealers usually murder each other in turf wars and for outstanding unpaid debts.

  • Demopublican, have you ever considered that our crime rate is low partly because most of these officers are doing a good job? I feel safer in Charlottesville than any other place I’ve lived. The police do a lot of prevention as part of their job– you know, the not-so-glamorous part of things. But most citizens never see that aspect of the job, and the police are rarely congratulated for bad stuff that DOESN’T happen. But on the rare occasions when something goes wrong, people sure sit up and take notice.

    And spare us the ad nauseam Naughty Cop forum links. Everybody is aware that there are bad cops out there. You can easily find and post just as many links lauding cops for going way beyond the call of duty, saving lives, etc.

    That said though, a police oversight committee without solid muscle is utterly useless. I hope that Longo and O’Connell will seriously reconsider this. If not, then use the time and money for something proactive instead, like getting the cops better equipment, facilities, etc.

  • “How about if I head to a less savory part of town, pistol tucked into the back of my jeans, and try to buy crack?” Please post a picture.
    “That said though, a police oversight committee without solid muscle is utterly useless.” How can council appoint a committee that knows what it’s doing when council can’t decide if it’s okay to build a 6,000 sq. ft. house on 2nd Street NE. Don’t try to fix a police department that’s not broken.

  • And yes, I think murder is basically like the lottery.

    So, then I ask again — why advise people to be armed after dark? Or to stay indoors? If it doesn’t matter what precautions that you take, what’s the purpose of changing your behavior?

  • Cville Eye- a police board isn’t there to “fix” the police department. It’s there to give an independent review of police complaints- like the when that guy in the wheelchair got hit by a cop. That would have been a good time for citizens and not cops to investigate. I don’t know that anyone has brought forward stats that we are understaff by police. We have three police departments and two sheriffs in the area. We have a low crime rate, why would we need more cops then we now have?

    BTW I think most cops are doing a very good job and my problems tend to be things like cameras on the mall and powerless boards.

    Truely I think it would be better to not have a board then to go the the motions with one that can’t do anything.

  • Perlogik, yes, I understand the supposed purpose. Aren’t you at least curious why the previous police oversight committee disbanded itself? Have those reasons evaporated to the point that this new committee empowered as you and some others would like would be able to do what it is that you want done? Aren’t you interested in some kind of evaluation of Albemarle County’s commiittee? Again, I say, setting up a committee with people spewing out a lot of hot air will most likely become a major part of the problem of policing in Charlottesville rather than part of the solution. Too many times this locality has jumped on ideas without much thought because initially they sounded good. Let’s go back to the original committee.

  • Cville Eye- it is a fine question but no I don’t care why the last one was disbanded. If someone knows the answer than I would like to know why. Not because it’s unimportant but because boards change all the time. I agree no board is better than a bad board.

  • Waldo, I suggest people arm themselves 24 hours a day, not just after dark. I would like to see every eligible law abiding citizen in the city with a concealed weapons permit, crime would go down overnight. And I have never suggested anybody stay indoors and live in fear. As far as odds, it’s like somebody said above, s/he doesn’t stand outside with a golf club during a thunderstorm. Likewise, your odds at being murdered are less if you are armed and can defend yourself.

    And Cville Eye, what is this former original police advisory committee you speak of? I have never known the city to need one until recently (thanks to the Rambo rookies), and I have never known them to have one in the past.

  • Just a reminder that you can go to the D.T. Mall today (Thurs.) from 9-2 to air your beefs in person and face-to-face with whatever City Dept. that’s bugging you the most at the annual Government Services Day. Give ’em hell!

  • Perlogik, do you realize that the Virginia State Police are called in to investigate any traffic accident a state owned vehicle is involved in locally? Even if it’s just a small fender bender, the drivers involved sometimes have to wait hours for a state trooper to show up. This is also what should have been done when Mr. Mitchell was run over by the police car in a crosswalk, the Virginia State Police should have been called in to investigate the incident. We didn’t need local fellow officers covering each other’s ass and charging the victim with a crime. While I do agree citizens could have investigated it better than the Charlottesville Police Department did, we really need an unbiased police agency conducting traffic accident investigations, not citizens. The Police Advisory committee should have the ability to review whatever took place and make recommendations on punishment. But Longo has said that basically isn’t going to happen on his watch too.
    And WordUp, I have expressed some pretty serious concerns to several city department heads in the past. When I got back home my pets were more attentive and responsive. Its all a total waste of time.

  • I was unaware of the state cops role in those cases. However I tend the view the matter in the same light as civlian control of the military-i.e. I’m for it. Democracy is about who controls the power of the state.

    What we need to repeat is this is all because City Council isn’t doing their job.

  • Yeah, it’s kinda a good idea too IMHO. Just one of those policies the State of Virginia has in place. If a state owned vehicle is involved they want professionals working the accident, unless there simply is not a Virginia state trooper available within a reasonable amount of time. A friend of mine had her car clipped by a UVA bus on a sharp turn. They had to wait for 2 hours for a trooper to respond from another county because the troopers assigned to Charlottesville and Albemarle County area were all tied up.
    Maybe the city and county needs a policy like this in place. When a police car is involved in an accident in the City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County, the Virginia State Police should respond and investigate it. I have very serious doubts that Mitchell would have been charged if this had been the case. You just can’t do better than the professionalism, training, demeanor and work ethics the troopers have always displayed in Virginia. They don’t show favoritism to anybody. You can see this on a web site called http://www.copswritingcops.com Real police officers have submitted numerous letters whining about not being able to talk themselves out of speeding tickets when stopped by the Virginia State Police. Off duty cops running 80 to 90 mph through Virginia think they are exempt from Virginia’s traffic laws….. until they meet a Virginia state trooper. Then they have nerve enough to whine in public about the trooper issuing them a ticlet and not displaying what cops call “professional courtesy” to one another.

  • A few months ago, in the wake of the Austin/Silva and Gerry Mitchell cases, I was concerned enough to ask a higher-up in the police department what happened with the previous oversight board. He told me that it literally just petered out. They never found anything of significance in the time they were a committee and apparently agreed with the disciplinary measures the police chief took in each case they investigated. FWIW, that’s what I was told. I don’t know anyone that served on the board, or I’d ask them myself.

  • Common Ground, although I could be wrong, I think several of you are confusing what was once an Albemarle County Police Advisory Committee. Although on inactive status, I think Albemarle’s committee actually still exists. I have never known the City of Charlottesville to have any such committee. And when the city does form a committee, it’s going to be absolutely hilarious to see who O’Connell appoints to it. Certainly they will all be democrats right off the bat. And they will most certainly be what we might call “yes men”, those who are highly unlikely to speak out against any form of city government or policy. In other words, to keep a leash on the city’s civil liability in critical incidents. The first thing out of their mouths would be that Silva/Austin shouldn’t have celebrated and walked in public after consuming any alcohol, even if they did have a designated driver. After law enforcement recommends designated drivers of course, LOL! And they would condemn Mitchell for maneuvering so slowly through a crosswalk. Don’t expect much from any committee. And the police chief has already said he shall have the last word no matter what the committee recommends.

  • I would like to see every eligible law abiding citizen in the city with a concealed weapons permit, crime would go down overnight.

    I would like to see every eligible law abiding nation in the world with a nuclear weapons program, wars would go down overnight.

  • There seem to be many complaints about police violating traffic laws.

    One deterrent to individual police officers might be for Chief Longo to require lights, no siren (except when totally inappropriate and shouldn`t be many of those instances)) on all calls.

    That will perhaps preclude an officer speeding to a luncheon place and arriving with all lights flashing to order a burger and will serve to mark the car on legitimate call. All others must obey the law as any other citizen.

  • Will, while I suspect you’re being quite facetious, you do have a valid point.
    And why is it that the United States of America think we are one of the very few who should have nuclear weapons anyway?

  • Nope Demopublican, I’m pretty sure there was a City committee. I’m already aware of the County committee.

    I can think of quite a few fair-minded trustworthy citizens offhand who could be effective on the committee. At the risk of embarrassing them, I’d say just offhand: Holly Edwards, Dave Norris, Peter Kleeman, Jennifer McKeever, Herb Porter, Colette Hall, Waldo Jacquith, though there are many more. All compassionate, involved, and pro-citizen, but they aren’t bureaucratic tools. They’re also smart enough to know how hard a cop’s job is.

    As to who will actually end up on it? Your guess is as good as mine. My fear is that it will be city PR apologist-types. Having already sat through a few police meetings already with said folks, I think there would be a definite conflict of interest there.

  • Common ground- nice list of democrats you’ve got there. No republicans worthy?

  • Good point Perlogik. However, I was primarily listing Cville-area community activists, and staying away from businessmen and Chamber members. I guess they ended up being Democrats, although that wasn’t the intent.

    How about Rob Shilling? Any other Republican names are welcome.

  • There’s actually a whole lot of people who aren’t really democrats until they decide to seek an elected position in Charlottesville. They become democrats almost overnight. Deep at heart they are still republicans. You have to take this into consideration too.

  • No offense intended here, but C-ville is, per capita, a lot brighter and better educated than a few other places in the state. The result is relatively fewer Republicans, but probably more libertarians, socialists, atheists, and related liberal types. Durn them.

  • @demopublican: Charlottesville Police Advisory&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=14&gl=us. I think the actual dates of the fromer advisory committee’s active existence were 1991 – 1997. I’m not sure because it was low profile and didn’t often report to the public, if ever. Thus, I was never aware of an instance when it made a hill of beans. I think the whole idea of a committee of this type is ridiculous. The most effective democracies have the majority of citizens vigilantly watching their government as Jefferson intended and not have a small group of people doing so, so they can turn a blind eye and go their merry way like air heads.

  • demopublican, with the amount of welfare each of our coucilors dole out every year, do you really and truly think any of them are closet republicans?

  • CVille Eye, I saw the mention of a former committee in The Daily Progress. But I still don’t think such a committee ever existed. I think the reporter confused what existed in Albemarle County at the time as a city Police Advisory Committee.
    And when I was speaking of running for elected positions, I wasn’t thinking City Council. The two I had specifically had in mind are long gone after running for elected office, with the sole intent of this office being that of enhancing their retirement benefits. One never lived long enough to enjoy these enhanced retirement benefits and the other packed up and left town as soon as his retirement checks started coming down the pike.

  • With a name like Cynic I will not take too much offense- a smart republican in Charlottesville would never run for office. Why waste the time. Intelligence lead many republicans to move to the county where they got lower taxes and better schools. Without the county’s money Charlottesville’s intelligence would not make up for their fiscal shortfall. Your taxes would be about 30% higher.

    Of course Hiliary Clinton’s rationale for staying in the race now is she does better with non college educated white americans (ie not Charlottesville) and therefore is a more viable canidate in the fall.(Paul Begala claiming Obama can’t win with just eggheads and african americans) You should feel so proud.

  • I would imagine the decision to limit the powers of this committee was made to protect the members of this committee from lawsuits by employees who thought their recommendations were unfair. By protecting the committee, members won’t be in danger of losing their homes someday. It’s not at all uncommon for police employees to sue their supervisors and also name the head of their internal affairs department. Maybe this is why the previous committee dissolved itself in the late nineties.

  • Now you do have a good point, CVille Eye. With all the haphazard and sloppy police investigations taking place nowadays (especially rookies out to make a name for themselves), police employees could have a leg to stand on when suing everybody involved in a wrongful arrest, wrongful punishment or wrongful termination.

  • Perlogik,

    I was just trying to get a rise out of C-ville Eye, I didn’t really mean it. I personally know one or two intelligent Republicans, whom I know are not stupid at all but simply lack any measurable sense of empathy.

    Of course, since the letters of your name, rearranged, spell out “GOP liker,” I should have known you’d be offended. My apologies.

  • Offended? Not hardly and I knew it wasn’t too serious- just pointing out the flaws in your post. If you are going to be a republican in Charlottesville, you get use to being taken for granted or “unintentally” overlooked.

    For example replace the word republican in your last post with woman, african, american, or dutch and would that be ok to say in public?

    I wish I’d thought of the anagram but that’s not it- neither is Kip Ogler, I gel pork or Like Gorp. Perlogik isn’t even an english word

  • I support the current proposal. The City and individual City Departments should have the sole authority to review and handle performance issues related to their employees, with the oversight of the City Manager and City Council; with Council ultimately being accountable at the voting poles. What reinforces my position is that we have only 10-15 people even debating this important issue here; considering that we have 40,000 city residents and 20,000 plus UVA students; and the thousands of commuters that travel into the City each work day.

    I personally thought this would be a more debated issue, but clearly this is not the case based on the numbers of posters. Demopublican and Waldo have the majority of the posts and clearly have an opinion on the issue, but they do not represent my opinion and likely may not represent the majority opinion of the citizens of Charlottesville and the others noted.

  • OK Golfer, let’s change jurisdictions for a second. How would you feel if I told you a county department indeed had the sole authority to review and handle performance issues related to their employees. And although one particular employee was consistantly doing things wrong and getting himself, the department head and the county sued, the employee was allowed to remain on each and every time he was sued for wrongdoinng simply because his father-in-law donated large sums of money to a department related support organization every year. The department head didn’t want to lose this large donation every year by disciplining or terminating this particular employee. (True story)

  • Demopublican, if a citizen is certain of corruption in government, he should find a way to make it public, even if he has to use a surrogate entity such as a newspaper.

  • A newspaper won’t print speculation. And a department head would have to be stupid to document why they take no action.

  • I guess I should have used the term “investigative reporting” somewhere. There is nothing speculative about a lawsuit; it’s a matter of public record.

  • Demopublican and Waldo have the majority of the posts and clearly have an opinion on the issue, but they do not represent my opinion and likely may not represent the majority opinion of the citizens of Charlottesville and the others noted.

    Uh. No. I have no idea of what to think about this, and I haven’t written a word in favor or against it.

  • I damn sure have an opinion on it. The committee will be absolutely and totally useless up front if the chief has already said he shall have the last word in running his department. Why would I take my car into the shop for them to diagnose a particular problem if I am not going to replace worn ball joints when the service manager says it needs to be done before something terrible happens!
    On the other hand, this committee’s recommendations going in one ear and out the other could be a godsend to any person who considers themselves a victim of police wrongdoing. If it can be established that the committee reviewed a critical incident and recommended termination of an officer involved, and this termination never took place before the officer became involved in a second and worse critical incident, I think it will become part of the evidence in any civil lawsuit filed against the police chief and the City of Charlottesville.

  • Demopublican, I guess what is happening here is that the City of Charlottesville, by and large, is saying to Chief Longo (I’m going to borrow your car-in-the-shop analogy): “you are the ‘service manager’ and we have no reason, at this point in time, to take the power to run this shop away from you. However, we’ve had a few complaints so we’re going to set up an advisory committee to keep an eye on things.”

    So, if things don’t improve or we learn that Chief Longo is unable to manage his staff or that he refuses to heed the advice of such a committee, I would be all in favor of something more than an advisory committee.

    Why do you feel that Chief Longo is incapable of managing his staff? Is there evidence that he is looking the other way and/or not dealing with problems that he knows about?

  • Cynic, I don’t think it’s a case of Longo not being able to manage his troops. It’s a case of his not knowing what his troops are doing once he goes home at 5:00 p.m. And I think when a questionable event does come down the pike, a few of his supervisors BS him way too much in an effort to cover their own asses after their having made bad decisions. If one of these decisions results in police wrongdoing Longo has no choice then but to back these BS-ing supervisors up and defend them.
    This Silva/Austin event still seems to trouble a lot of citizens I talk to. From all appearances it appears as if Longo did absolutely nothing to the officer involved. Even though the entire thing took place because of the officer’s mistake in almost running over them. And then along comes the Mitchell event, where Longo didn’t seem to know what the hell was going on until after the fact. It appears his troops and supervisors had hidden from him the fact that there were witnesses to the Mitchell incident. That must have been embarrassing as hell to Longo!

  • Cynic, I agree with your assessment entirely. The glass is definitely half-full. A committee like this could be a really positive thing for the PD and for Longo. If an unbiased committee investigates complaints and finds that the PD acted correctly, then that would help restore some faith in the department. And if they found out that some things needed to be handled differently, then that could be addressed as well. It’s not a matter of spreading private police personnel info all over the place. It’s simply oversight, and I see its potential to make the department even stronger.

    Longo is a really good chief, but trust issues have unfortunately developed between the department and the citizens as a result of a few high-profile cases. I don’t think it’s even remotely his fault, but it did happen on his watch.

    Demopublican, do you actually know whether or not the officer in the Austin/Silva case was disciplined in any way? It’s my understanding that internal investigations are kept private. Because the outcome wasn’t written about in the media doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing happened with that.

  • Common Ground, that’s the problem. The public doesn’t know if the officer faced any review or disciplinary action whatsoever. From all appearances, he didn’t. I disagree with or simply don’t understand internal investigations being kept secret once completed. When the county police captain was fired for soliciting juveniles on the Internet for sex it was not kept secret. When the county police sergeant was fired for falsifying speedometer calibrations it was not kept secret. There was even a debate as to whether hundreds of speeding cases needed to be reopened or not. When city officers Saunders and Fitzgerald were recently fired for alleged wrongdoing it was not kept secret. I could list 25 cases from the last decade where internal findings were not kept secret. Who decides what shall remain confidential and what will not remain confidential? There seems to be no consistancy and it doesn’t seem to be based on whether criminal charges are placed or not.
    I personally developed a serious trust issue with Longo long before the Silva/Austin and Mitchell events. Unlike many other citizens, I just don’t feel one of his specialities is or ever was internal affairs. But that’s just my opinion, and I am just one person. I don’t think the city has had much upstairs in office since John Dek Bowen retired.

  • Maybe because the ones publicized had criminal charges attached to them?? Otherwise, internally, wouldn’t it be a personnel matter? I don’t know, I am asking.

    If that’s the case, if departments released info about a personnel matter, wouldn’t they be liable for releasing this info?

  • Clearly, you are right. Another danger by having the public constantly criticing the police department with a broad brush is having the officers leave to work in another locality. People like to feel appreciated above all.

  • Demopublican, the cases you mention involving the release of information either involved Albemarle County Police Officers and/or involved criminal cases…not City Police Officers subject to citizen administrative complaints. I did some research on FOIA and there is a big difference between the two regarding the required release of information for criminal arrests and administrative investigations. I am a life long resident of the area and feel that Chief Longo has run the most transparent Department than any previous administration. If he is unable to manage his Department, I would be the first person to ask for his resignation, but that is not the case and his willingness to hold his officers and supervisors accountable for their actions have been clearly demonstrated. Just because he is unable to release details, don’t assume that he is not taking the appropriate action. I hope Chief Longo is here to stay for many years to come……

  • Golfer, the point I was attempting to make is the fact that once a police officer is terminated from employment after an internal affairs investigation, his personnel record and reason for termination are released to the public and media. But if an officer continues to work at a department after an internal investigation and disciplinary action, all of his personnel and diciplinary records are a big secret. In other words – using a true story – if an officer is terminated (without criminal charges having been placed) after being accused of stalking a young girl he met in the line of duty, this is publicized, front page stuff in this community. But if the department substantiates the alleged stalking complaint and suspends the officer for a week without pay, this information is kept secret. Even the victim/complainant has no right to know the outcome of the investigation. She will get a form letter stating the complaint was investigated, substantiated, and the officer was disciplined. Based on your research of FOIA, why is this? The victim and the community should have the right to know if the officer was dealt with severely enough to discourage his practice of stalking young ladies in the future. Otherwise the public simply feels he is nothing more than another thug out here running around with a gun and badge with immunity from prosecution in criminal matters. I hope I have explained it a little better this time?

  • Read the story in this link very carefully. It’s a prime example of a cop lying, and nobody doing a thing about it. Yet they have ruined this young girl’s career and reputation. I hope the various agencies end up paying dearly for what they did to this young lady.


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