Prioritizing Inclusion and Diversity in Arlington

The year 2020 provided a challenge to us all to recognize and reckon with our failures with respect to racial and economic equity. Millions of Americans, including many here in Arlington, took to the streets to demand that we do better. We must and we will.

In 2020, we adopted body-worn cameras for our police, Sheriff’s, and select fire personnel. We established our Police Practices Group to review our police department’s policies and practices and expect to have their recommendations early this year. We appointed a Chief Race and Equity Officer who is committed to creating a County where everyone sees themselves in the work being done. We adopted a framework for implementing Restorative practices for conflict resolution and launched Dialogues of Race and Equity. We set in motion public processes for renaming Lee Highway, changing our logo, and renaming streets, buildings and public spaces whose names do not align with our community’s commitment to racial equity.

In 2021, we enacted our Police Oversight Board to help build trust with our community and our police department. In 2022 we hired an Independent Police auditor. We also passed a policy to strengthen trust with our immigrant communities. Our challenge over the coming years will be to see these initiatives through, with determination to rise to a new status quo. That new status quo must also create systemic equity on the other priorities I’ve identified—health, hunger, eviction prevention, economic recovery, our schools, and missing middle housing.