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Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement receives accreditation

Process unrelated to ongoing lawsuit, Martese Johnson's lawyer says

<p>ABC Law Enforcement is the 92nd of 400 law enforcement agencies in the state to become accredited by these standards.</p>

ABC Law Enforcement is the 92nd of 400 law enforcement agencies in the state to become accredited by these standards.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Bureau of Law Enforcement received accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission on Dec. 1.

The standards commission is comprised of a panel of police chiefs and sheriffs across the state, according to a press release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

In order to become accredited, an agency must undergo a three-day examination which reviews agency policies, procedures, processes and operations defined by 190 standards, Kathleen Shaw, public relations manager for Virginia ABC, said in an email.

“During the three days, they inspected files, incident reports, photos, equipment and facilities,” Shaw said. “The assessment team also conducted interviews and observations and reviewed activities to ensure consistency of best practices across all of ABC’s nine regional offices throughout the commonwealth.”

The accreditation will hold ABC law enforcement and its officers to a higher standard, Shaw said.

One way of enforcing accountability in the agency will be through a wide range of time sensitive audits ABC law enforcement must maintain.

While this is the agency’s initial accreditation, ABC Law Enforcement is the 92nd of 400 law enforcement agencies in the state to become accredited by these standards, Shaw said.

The accreditation has given the agency an “important framework for professional self-inspection,” Ryant Washington, Virginia ABC special policy advisor for law enforcement, said in the press release from McAuliffe’s office.

“It has increased the effectiveness of our policy development, the efficiency of our delivery of services and ensures that we continue to provide proper training,” Washington said. “We are committed to maintaining this high level of professionalism and responsibility.”

According to Shaw, the agency has been pursuing accreditation for several years, well before the controversial arrest of fourth-year College student Martese Johnson on the Corner last year.

Daniel Watkins, Johnson’s lawyer, said any accreditation ABC receives is separate from the pending lawsuit.

“The role of ABC in law enforcement continues to be a question that we as a community grapple with and I think it’s an important question because law enforcement’s main role is to protect society, and so in order to ensure that that goal is fulfilled it means regular consistent review of practices to ensure that the right things are being done,” Watkins said.

In order to maintain its accreditation, the agency will be reassessed every four years.

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