Fairfax County Police Department

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Fairfax County Police Department
Abbreviation FCPD
VA - Fairfax County Police.jpg
Patch of the Fairfax County Police Department.
VA - Fairfax County Police Badge.jpg
Badge of the Fairfax County Police Department.
Flag of Fairfax County, Virginia.png
Flag of Fairfax County, Virginia
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1940
Employees 1,730
Annual budget $217 million
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (US) of Fairfax in the state of Virginia, USA
Size 407 square miles (1,050 km2)
Population 1,111,620
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Fairfax, Virginia
Police Officers 1,402
Civilians 368
Agency executive Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Police
Districts 8
Helicopters 2
Official Website
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) is a full-service law enforcement agency, located in Northern Virginia. The FCPD services a population of 1,081,726 citizens within 395 square miles (1,020 km2) of Fairfax County, Virginia.[1]

The stated mission of the department is to "protect persons and property by providing public safety services, and the fair and impartial enforcement of the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the County of Fairfax, while promoting community involvement, as well as stability and order through service, assistance and visibility."[2]


The Fairfax County Police Department came into existence July 1, 1940. Much of the credit for its establishment goes to the man who was then Fairfax County Sheriff, Eppa Kirby, a colorful character who never carried a gun. Overwhelmed with managing the inadequate county jail and law enforcement duties, Sheriff Kirby persuaded the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to relieve him of his responsibilities for criminal police work by forming the police department. At the helm was Carl McIntosh, a deputy sheriff who became Fairfax County’s first chief of police.

Chief McIntosh, five newly sworn police officers, and two clerks became the county’s first police department employees. Three of the new officers were assigned to patrol the county’s roads, while another was appointed detective sergeant. With far-reaching insight into what would eventually become one of the department’s main areas of concern, Chief McIntosh appointed the fifth officer, John A. Millan as traffic sergeant on motorcycle patrol. Millan resigned shortly thereafter to accept a position as a revenue enforcement agent with the US Treasury Department's Prohibition Bureau.[3]


The department achieved its third reaccreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission in June 2009. Fairfax County is the first police department in the Commonwealth of Virginia to accomplish this milestone.


The current chief of police is Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr. The three main divisions within the department are Patrol, Investigations/Operation, and Administration. Each division is commanded by a deputy chief. The Internal Affairs Bureau and the Chief's Office of Research and Support both report directly to the Chief.

I. The Investigation/Operation Division contains the Motorcycle Squad, SWAT, K-9 Section, EOD, Helicopter Unit, Crime Scene Section and the Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Officers in the Motor Section keep traffic moving and control traffic at major incidents and crash scenes. They rely almost exclusively on Harley-Davidson motorcycles to get to the source of traffic problems. Specially trained and certified officers assigned to the Motor Carrier Safety Section inspect trucks and commercial vehicles for safety and legal regulations. They can force unsafe vehicles off the roads. The Crash Reconstruction Unit provides technical expertise and has investigative responsibility for most fatal crashes. The Traffic Safety Services Section acts as the department’s coordination point for all regional and departmental traffic enforcement and safety education programs. Traffic Enforcement Officers address parking issues. The Traffic Division coordinates the Auxiliary Police Officers and Volunteers in Police Service programs. APOs handle both administrative and operational tasks, such as augmenting patrol, traffic control, and taking police reports. VIPS perform primarily administrative tasks throughout the department.

The primary investigative branch of the Department is divided into specializations: Major Crimes (murder, sex crimes, assault, robbery, vehicle theft, financial crimes, and crimes against children), Organized Crime and Narcotics, Criminal Intelligence, and Investigative Support (crime scene, fingerprints, etc.).

II. The Administration Division contains the Criminal Justice Academy, Central Records, the property room and the Public Information Office.

The Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy trains recruits and prepares officers through constant, updated training and conducts the Citizen's Police Academy.

III. The Patrol Division contains Animal Control, Youth Services Division, and station detectives for property crimes.

Animal Control officers are specially trained law enforcement officers who investigate dog bites and attacks and complaints of animal cruelty. They respond to emergencies involving sick or injured domestic animals and enforce county codes and state laws pertaining to animals. They remove strays from the community, often impounding them at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter where many can be reunited with their owners or adopted by new owners.

The vast majority of patrol officers operate out of eight district stations, which are as follows:[4]

  • Mason District
  • McLean District
  • Mount Vernon District
  • Fair Oaks District
  • Franconia District
  • Reston District
  • Sully District
  • West Springfield District


The continued urbanization of the county creates additional impacts on the ability of the department to provide service to the community. The department is studying the impacts of the proposed redevelopment of Tysons Corner, and other projects throughout the county that will result in more transit-oriented land use patterns. As a result of preliminary impact assessments of ongoing and future development patterns in the county, the department anticipates a future need to create two new patrol districts, while realigning existing districts to accommodate the demands created by this anticipated growth. The Patrol Bureau is developing mechanisms for predicting the level of staffing that may be required in the future to meet these challenges while maintaining service quality.

On the Beat[edit]

The department has its own television show on Channel 16 called, “On the Beat,” which seeks to educate the public on the mission of the department and provide information on public safety.

Channel 16 is the Fairfax County local Government-access television cable TV channel which delivers news and information about Fairfax County as well as Educational-access television programming. The Fairfax County Police Department has a 30-minute television show on Channel 16, which airs five times a week. On the Beat[5]


Fairfax County Police has several programs that are ongoing and short-term, depending on the needs of the community. Some examples include[6]

Honor Guard

Founded in 1980, the Ceremonial Honor Guard is a non-standing unit made up of career and auxiliary officers. It is one of the largest police Honor Guards in Virginia with 43 specially selected officers from the department’s rank and file. Selection criteria include prior experience, professional image, uniform appearance, personal grooming standards, motivation, stature/bearing, interest in Honor Guard activities, and positive attitude. In 2008, they participated in 83 events and assignments and monthly practices to ensure their readiness at a moment’s notice.

Road DAWG (Don’t Associate With Gangs)

Increased gang activity across the region prompted growth in the number of Road DAWG camps in the county from one to three (at Mount Vernon, Reston and West Springfield Districts). The camp program was created to build healthy decision-making skills; help youths resist the draw of gangs and show them a fun and friendly side of police officers.

Soccer Program for At-Risk Youths

Members of Hispanic communities in the Franconia District and police officers came together to produce a series of soccer tournaments for kids between the ages of 7 and 16. The aim of “United for the Sport” is to build stronger relationships between the two. It continues today with the addition of human services, social services, and other county agencies.


In 2008, the Public Information Office embraced new technology and new media to launch the department’s messages to more members of the public. Taking advantage of the social networking phenomena, information was posted on Fairfax County’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which are monitored and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs. In addition, the police department started an FCPD YouTube site, posting informational and educational videos and information.

Attention to Senior Citizens

Seniors and Law Enforcement (SALT) is a joint program to address crime-related and public safety issues affecting seniors in the community. Franconia District crime prevention officers met with SALT council members on a monthly basis to discuss safety and emergency preparedness.

Animal Control

Animal Control officers are specially trained law enforcement officers who investigate dog bites and attacks and complaints of animal cruelty. They respond to emergencies involving sick or injured domestic animals and enforce county codes and state laws pertaining to animals. They remove strays from the community, often impounding them at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter where many can be reunited with their owners or adopted by new owners.

Explorer Program

Forty-four young people between the ages of 14 and 21, male and female, with an interest in possible law enforcement careers fill the ranks of the Fairfax County Law Enforcement Explorer Post 1742. Active since 1975, the post supports the mission of the Fairfax County Police Department by providing volunteer support at police and community events. In addition to service, the Explorers learn and compete in events testing some of the basic skills involved in a wide range of police assignments.

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Fairfax County Police Department, 5 officers have died in the line of duty.[7]

Officer Date of Death Details
Police Officer Karen Jean Bassford
Wednesday, July 27, 1977
Automobile accident
Sandy Gideonse
December 3, 1998
Automobile accident
Captain Tommy F. Bernal
Thursday, June 28, 2001
Motorcycle accident
Detective Vicky Anne Owen Armel
Monday, May 8, 2006
Master Police Officer Michael E. Garbarino
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Second Lieutenant Francis Joseph (Frank) Stecco
Saturday, October 25, 2008

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "General Demographic Information - Fairfax County, Virginia". Fairfaxcounty.gov. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  2. ^ FCPD 2011 Budget Narrative, Fairfax County
  3. ^ “Fifty Years Behind the Badge,” (FCPD PIO, 1990)
  4. ^ "District Stations - Fairfax County, Virginia". Fairfaxcounty.gov. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  5. ^ "On the Beat". Fairfaxcounty.gov. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  6. ^ “FCPD 2008 Annual Report,” (FCPD PIO, 2009)
  7. ^ "The Officer Down Memorial Page". Odmp.org. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 

External links[edit]