The School and Law Enforcement Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines mutual expectations regarding the ways that ACPD and APS will partner to achieve the shared goals of promoting supportive, safe and secure schools for students, faculty and staff. The MOU was updated on March 10, 2022 and redefines and reimagines the partnership between APS and ACPD.
The broad goals of the MOU are:
- Reduce student involvement in the criminal justice system by having student disciplinary issues handled within the school building by school administrators;
- Protect student rights afforded to them legally under all federal, state, and local laws;
- Formally detail the specific situations as referenced in the Code of Virginia when students are to be referred to law enforcement; and
- Control access to student information as mandated by FERPA.
More specifically, the MOU aims to:
- Foster timely, clear communication and collaboration about safety and security matters affecting schools.
- Collaborate with other County services, advocates, and service providers to increase access to resources to support students and families (for example, counselors, drug and alcohol specialists, and family support services).
- Provide law-related education to students and staff and expand school safety and crime prevention education efforts.
- Increase mechanisms to equip the schools to safely reduce conflict, and support effective non-punitive interventions for students.
- Provide guidance to staff on school safety and security issues, including assessments and emergency planning.
- Continue to implement positive interactions with students and ACPD, including on substance abuse prevention and educational programs on understanding your rights.
- Decrease students’ potential involvement with the criminal justice system through education and enhanced in-school support services.
- Collaborate on planning and preparing for matters related to the safety of schools and students, staff, and administrators.
- Facilitate regular positive interactions between law enforcement and students in schools, including educational programming, substance use prevention, after-school activities, sporting events, and other non-enforcement interactions.
- Provide supplemental external support for APS during the school day and provide staffing for extracurricular events as requested by APS using the special event and activity guidelines, as staffing permits.
- Participate together on the APS Safety Audit Committee supporting the development of APS emergency operations plans and exercises and will offer assistance to individual schools when resources are available and coordinated with the Department of Safety, Risk and Emergency Management.
- Respond to emergencies, ensuring ACPD has full access to APS facilities for the purpose of keeping students, staff, and administrators safe from an ongoing threat.
- Maintain communication about developing scenarios that may impact schools if not directly originating from a school.
- Cooperate on ACPD investigations and actions, with respect to criminal investigations where the criminal activity took place on school property, without hindering or interfering with their law enforcement duties.
- Provide training for APS staff and administrators on relevant topics to include restorative practices, student-centric approaches to de-escalation, cultural competency, equity impact analysis, trauma informed approaches, alternatives to school Student Code of Conduct sanctions, and relevant Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) curriculum as deemed appropriate for external collaboration with ACPD.