Virginia Beach Announces Police Body Camera Policy Reforms

The City of Virginia Beach is requiring police officers to turn on body cameras as soon as they are on their way to a call, according to an April 29 video released by the city. Additionally, the Virginia Beach Police Department is in the process of adding switches to officers’ gun holsters to automatically turn their cameras on when the gun is drawn, with an implementation goal of July. Their tasers have a device that activates recording on all nearby officers’ cameras as soon as the taser and camera are turned on.

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Holding a Phone While Driving Will be Illegal in Virginia Come January

Virginia drivers who like to use their phone while behind the wheel will need to break that dangerous habit once the new year begins or be ready to cough up money.

Thanks to legislation passed by the General Assembly last spring, starting January 1st it will be illegal to hold a phone while driving in the Commonwealth.

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Virginia to Stop Accepting Online Training for Concealed Handgun Permits

Virginians will no longer be able to get concealed handgun permits through online classes after January 1, 2021. A law passed last March by the General Assembly amends Virginia Code § 18.2-308.02 to require in-person firearms training or safety courses.

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Virginia Police Advocate: Breonna’s Law Too Broad, but Not All Bad

Governor Ralph Northam ceremonially signed “Breonna’s Law” on Monday. The law bans no-knock warrants and is named after Breonna Taylor, a Kentucky resident who was killed in her home in March by police. It also bans night-time search warrants without authorization by a judge or magistrate. But Virginia police advocates say the law is too broad — a wholesale ban on a law enforcement tool that they say is already rarely used.

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Governor Signs Sentencing Reform Legislation into Law

Last week Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation into law from the Virginia General Assembly special session, which gives judges sentencing power instead of juries in most criminal cases.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond City), Senate Bill 5007 changes a 224-year practice in the Commonwealth where juries had the authority to pass sentences after a conviction had been made.

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Legislation Allowing Localities to Establish Law Enforcement Civilian Review Boards Heads to Governor’s Desk

Compromised legislation that gives localities the authority to establish law enforcement civilian review boards (CRB) successfully passed final votes in the Senate and House of Delegates Wednesday afternoon, and now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.

Joint conference committee reports for Senate Bill 5035 passed the Senate (21-Y 17-N) and for House Bill 5055 passed the House (53-Y 35-N), mostly along the party lines of both chambers.

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Despite Concern From Police, Virginia Legislators Cutting Funding, Protection For Law Enforcement Officers

As Virginia legislators push forward with criminal reform bills, police warn that reform will leave officers without enough tools and protections to do their jobs.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill that, if it becomes law, will end mandatory minimum felony sentences for those who assault police. Other measures being considered include bans on choke holds, elimination of no-knock warrants, and an end to qualified immunity.

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