While the local jail population continues to grow, the record-keeping systems used by law enforcement, the courts and other pieces of the local criminal justice system remain stuck in the past, complicating efforts to understand what’s driving that population growth or to begin addressing it. Within a year, however, new insight into local criminal justice trends could be coming from two different sources.
The Middle River Regional Jail Authority took a first step this week toward expanding its overcrowded facility in Verona, by voting unanimously to hire Moseley Architects to conduct a needs assessment for the jail. The move comes as jail officials have warned that overcrowding in the jail is having a ripple effect on both the facilities’ budget and infrastructure.
As Harrisonburg Police Chief Eric English outlined his policing philosophies and answered questions from about 30 community members at his first town hall meeting Monday, he kept returning to a central theme.
On Monday evening, Police Chief Eric English will introduce himself, take questions and talk about policing in Harrisonburg at a public meeting at Thomas Harrison Middle School.
“A lot of people still have not met me,” said English, who was sworn in as Harrisonburg’s police chief last September. “I’ll talk about my philosophy and some things that we’ve already implemented, [as well as] things I’m looking to do going forward.”
Hours before a rally organized to seek answers about police officers’ conduct while arresting two black women over the weekend, leaders of the NAACP withdrew from the event. Their decision came after Police Chief Eric English showed several of the organization’s leaders police body camera footage of the entire incident over the weekend — including what led up and what followed the cell phone video taken by party goers and circulated on social media.