An important part of the Charlottesville Police Foundation’s (CPF) mission is to help the Charlottesville Police Department get the training they need to do their best work. The CPF board invites legal scholars at the University of Virginia, local practicing attorneys, and law enforcement specialists to offer advanced training to the Department on topics relevant to their professional duties at no cost to the Department. These programs supplement the Department’s training programs with advanced professional skills and aid in the recruitment, retention, and leadership development of the Department’s staff.
Twice in the past several years, the CPF offered a training course entitled “Wrongful Convictions” taught by nationally recognized UVA Law Professor and author, Brandon Garrett. Garrett is an expert on criminal procedure and wrongful convictions, and recently wrote the book Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong, examining the cases of the first 250 people to be exonerated by DNA testing. The Charlottesville Police Department investigators and officers gathered together to hear Professor Garrett share his research and field questions about cases of wrongful conviction and, more specifically, about how to conduct fair line-up and photo array procedures and how to avoid unintentional suggestive questioning of victims and witnesses. Chief Longo and members of the Department called this session “very useful training.”
In 2014, the CPF sponsored a class entitled “Improving Police/Community Contact” that focused on how police interact with the diverse cultural population of Charlottesville. Two trainers from the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration, Gregory Smith and Neil Moore, joined Charlottesville resident and cultural studies expert Greg Thompson to lead the training. The class used national and local racial history to give a framework for the discussion and challenged officers to see themselves as civic leaders who could use “cultural wisdom” to work with the community and serve the common good. The entire department was able to take the class over the course of a week, and the feedback from the training was excellent.
The CPF not only looks for opportunities to offer in-house training classes, but also funds members of the Department to attend distance learning programs. The CPF has sponsored SWAT team training in Richmond and Forensics training in Knoxville. This training brings valuable knowledge back to the Department and help it meet it’s mission to “serve, protect, and improve the quality of life for those who reside, work, and visit in our community."