FCPD: Community survey shows most satisfied with police responses

A Fairfax County police car at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A survey mostly taken by respondents who contacted the Fairfax County Police Department showed high levels of positive community sentiment for the department.

The survey — conducted as part of a nine-month pilot program to engage the community and find information on how the community feels about the agency — kicked off in late May last year through Axon’s My90 program.

The program sent text messages to people who reached out to the agency to request specific types of services.

“My90 is one of many tools we use to engage with our community, better understand how the public feels about interactions with our department, and build trust,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said. “Since deploying My90, we have collected thousands of responses from all over Fairfax County and have the opportunity to review the valuable feedback we gain from community members we have just served.”

It’s unclear how the method of pooling survey respondents skewed the results.

Most respondents contacted FCPD to report a crime, accident or concerns — suggesting some level of comfort with contacting the FCPD. As a result, roughly 45% of the interactions were with a dispatcher and 41% were with a police officer. The remaining 9% were with animal control.

“There is no way for us to tell if the results are skewed or not,” an FCPD spokesperson told FFXnow when asked how the survey method may have skewed results.

The spokesperson added that the police department did issue an open call for the survey last May.

Traffic offenses (22%) and theft of personal property (18%) were flagged as the top concerns in the community. Violent physical attacks was the top safety concern for roughly 15% of respondents, although 26% wrote “other” as the top safety concern.

When asked what FCPD should do to improve safety in the community, nearly half of respondents (48%) said they wanted to see increased patrol visibility.

Other improvements ranked relatively low in the community, including increasing the number of officers (14%), increased community engagement (13%), increased information sharing (9%) and other (14%).

More than 70% of respondents said they were treated with respect, treated fairly and felt safe contacting FCPD based on their interaction with the police department.

Respondents were predominantly white — 63% — followed by Asian American (10%) and African American (9%). Respondents also skewed older, with 36% between the ages of 46 and 60 and 27% over 61. The gender mix was roughly equally distributed.

Based on their recent interactions, 68% of respondents said their view of FCPD was very positive and 76% said they received the help they needed.