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Memorandum Of Understanding Between the Prince William County Police Department and the Prince William County Public Schools

  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Prince William County Police Department (PD) and the Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) is to foster a partnership designed to provide coordination and utilization of services by the PD as they serve the students enrolled in the PWCS and their parents. This shall be achieved by the cooperative effort of the School Resource Officer (SRO) Unit and school administrators. These efforts shall not only be centralized to the individual school systems but extended to the communities they service.

  2. Mission and Goals

    The mission of both the PD and the PWCS is to promote the safety and welfare of PWCS students, to build a positive relationship between PWCS students, families and the school community with law enforcement, and to enforce state and federal law on school property, consistent with the requirements of Virginia Code §§ 9.1-101 and 9.1-110. The goals of this MOU are to establish procedures and guidelines with respect to the expectations and description of duties performed by the SRO unit (its members and supervisors) and school administrators concerning, inter alia, the utilization of drug-detection dogs in PWCS schools; to address law enforcement access to Student Education Records; the utilization of Body Worn Cameras (BWC), the safety of students and staff, including plans and strategies designed to provide for a safe and secure school environment; the role of SROs in relation to student disciplinary offenses which may also involve possible criminal violations and the reporting of certain student offenses as required by Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1. and the cooperative arrangement for coordination and utilization of services of the PD relating to certain reports required to be submitted by the PWCS pursuant to §§ 22.1-3.1 of the “Code of Virginia (1950).”  In addition, both parties shall endeavor to foster a relationship of cooperation, mutual support, and the sharing of information and resources as they work together to maintain a safe and secure environment for students, staff, and visitors.               

  3. Description of Respective Duties

    1. The PD shall provide law enforcement services, to the extent resources are available and designated at no cost to the PWCS through the assignment of SROs. This service does not include employment of off-duty detail officers hired outside of this MOU during special activities such as sports events, proms, etc. The PD shall provide for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of the SROs. The SRO shall:

      • Be based at all high and middle schools.

      • Serve the law enforcement needs of the high and middle schools.

      • Provide presentations on substance abuse, DWI, curfew, shoplifting, runaway prevention, suicide prevention, child abuse/neglect, gang participation, constitutional law, and other agreed upon topics that become relevant to the community’s needs throughout the school year.

      • Provide consultation to staff and parents on matters dealing with law enforcement.

      • Work with parents and/or school groups on law enforcement issues.

      • Investigate law enforcement issues that occur on school property, share information and evidence needed for PWCS investigative and disciplinary purposes as subject to applicable statutes, and aid school administrators on these issues.

      • Keep the base school informed of their daily schedules.

      • Assist school staff with interpretation of law as it relates to police matters.

      • Update school staff on major issues that affect safety and assist with forming and implementing safety plans.

      • Comply with School Board policies and PWCS regulations, unless prohibited by state or federal law and/or PD policy.

    2. The PWCS shall assist the PD by providing administrative assistance. The PWCS shall:

      • Provide a private office space (to include a computer for in-school use, printer, secure file, and weapon storage) for the SRO’s use at each school.

      • Provide opportunities for the SROs to work with students during the regular school day.

      • On an annual basis, provide the SRO with one copy of the school’s yearbook for each PWCS middle and high school.

      • Assist in working with students, parents, and staff to promote good citizenship practices.

      • Serve as a resource on school policies, procedures, and regulations.

      • Immediately report any problem requiring police investigation and any criminal incident connected with the schools involving the student population to the SRO. In the event the SRO is not available, notification shall be made to the PD by contacting the SRO Unit Supervisor or by contacting the PD’s emergency or non-emergency number. Both parties shall comply with notification of certain student offenses and criminal activities as outlined in Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1.

      • Call 9-1-1 for immediate police assistance in cases of emergency.

      • Facilitate access to the PWCS student data system. All members of the SRO unit shall be provided with on-site district-level access at each school, and remote access. Further information and limitations regarding access to student records is outlined in section VIII of this MOU related to conformance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related state law and regulations.

      • Share information and evidence as required for police to complete investigation of school-related criminal incidents, including access to school surveillance cameras and student records, subject to applicable statutes and regulations governing confidentiality.

      • Request each principal with an assigned SRO to provide feedback to the SRO supervisor on the SRO’s performance.

      A SRO assigned to full-time duty at a high or middle school must be recognized as a valuable resource. It is imperative that the officers assigned in this capacity be used to their fullest extent. These officers must be given full partnership in the daily safety and security decision‑making process of their respective schools. Anything less than full partnership and cooperation shall be cause for re-evaluation of the officer’s assignment and could be grounds for transfer to other duties outside of the School Division.

  4. Desired Outcomes

    Through this cooperative effort, the PD and the PWCS wish to make the students, staff, and visitors safe while on school property and reduce the negative activities that lead to criminal acts. They further desire to educate the students, staff, and parents on legal issues to improve the quality of life in the PWCS and the community they serve.

  5. Information Sharing

    The PD and the PWCS have a longstanding arrangement with regard to information sharing. The Youth Services and Special Victims Bureau of the County Police Department has almost daily contact with the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services. Investigations are conducted in conjunction with and with the cooperation of the Office of Risk Management and Security Services. This open partnership between the PD and the PWCS has worked to the benefit of the community for 43 years and is expected to continue.

    The following information may be shared with school administration by the PD, subject to applicable statutes and regulations governing confidentiality:

    • The arrest and filing of a delinquency petition against any student under the age of 18 years.

    • Student offenses reportable under Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1.

    • Other non-criminal activity that the PD deems pertinent to the student’s well-being, including, but not limited to, threatening and/or attempting suicide; victimization of the student by a parent, caretaker, or other individual.

    • BWC recordings.

    • Information permitted to be shared by the terms of the “Standing Order for Information Sharing With Prince William County Public Schools” of the 31st Judicial District Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, which was effective on July 2, 2018.

  6. Supervision Responsibility and Chain of Command for the SRO.

    The supervision responsibility for the SRO shall be the sole responsibility of the PD. The SRO unit is incorporated under the PD’s Youth Services and managed by the Youth Services Bureau Commander. The day-to-day supervision, evaluations, and control shall rest with the SRO unit’s immediate supervisor, a Sergeant. The school’s administrative staff shall routinely deal directly with the assigned SRO but should there be any concerns or need to speak to a higher level of authority, the Sergeant shall be the point of contact. If the Sergeant is not available, any available supervisor in the Youth Services Bureau should be contacted. (The school administrative staff should contact the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services should they have any questions concerning this MOU or to obtain advice concerning the actions of the SRO as it pertains to this MOU.) Office and cellular phone numbers shall be provided to the school staff of all members of the SRO unit and its supervisory staff.

  7. Decision-Making Authority Regarding Enforcement of Applicable Law and  Procedures by the SRO

    The decision-making authority concerning enforcement of all laws rests with each individual SRO. The SRO shall seek input from school administrators, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys, County attorneys, and their supervisors, if the situation dictates to aid in making such decisions. Should there be a question as the SRO’s actions, their immediate supervisor, as previously noted, should be contacted. A member of the SRO supervisory staff shall cause an investigation into the inquiry to assure proper regulations were adhered to and that the decision-making process was sound.

  8. Access to Student Educational Records

    “Student Educational Records” mean all records (written or electronic), files, documents, certain video, audio recordings, and other materials maintained by the PWCS, which contain personally identifiable information directly related to a student, subject to certain limited exceptions, such as records created and maintained by the members of the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services or the PD for the purpose of enforcing state or federal laws, School Board policies, PWCS regulations, and the PWCS “Code of Behavior.”

    Personally identifiable information contained in Student Educational Records, including the Student Management System, relating to specific students enrolled in the PWCS shall only be disclosed to, or accessed by, members of the PD, including members of the SRO unit, without written parental consent, and under the following conditions:

    • Directory information as defined in PWCS Regulation 790-3, “Release of Directory Information,” and the FERPA notice contained in the PWCS “Code of Behavior.”

    • Where a member of the SRO unit or other member of the PD is investigating criminal student misconduct related to the schools which may violate federal, state, or local laws, or School Board policies and PWCS regulations or the “Code of Behavior,” in which case the SRO or other member of the PD is considered a “school official” with a “legitimate educational interest” in the records or information sought, if access to such records or information  is necessary for them to carry out the officer’s professional responsibilities for the school. This exception to FERPA does not authorize the release of personally identifiable information (other than directory information) relating to a student for law enforcement investigation of student offenses not connected to the school or PWCS.  In such cases, information or records relating to individual students shall be produced by PWCS in response to a valid subpoena, search warrant, or court order.

    • To further the ability of the juvenile justice system to effectively serve a student prior to adjudication, and then only upon written certification provided to the School Division from the person to whom the information is disclosed that the information shall not be provided to any party, other than state and local law enforcement or correctional personnel, attorneys for the Commonwealth, court services units, juvenile detention centers or group homes, mental and medical health agencies, state and local children and family services agencies, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and to the staff of such agencies, and then only where those parties certify not to disclose the information outside the agency to which it was provided.

    • In connection with an emergency to protect the health and safety of a student or other individual, if, in the judgment of the school principal (or designee) or PWCS Director of Risk Management and Security Services, the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals, and then only upon the condition that the person(s) to whom such information is provided agree that the information shall not be provided to any other party outside the PD, unless that party is another appropriate party to respond to the emergency. The PD shall provide Risk Management and Security Services or the principal (or designee) with sufficient facts and information upon which they can make an informed decision of whether a health and safety emergency exists and record the same as required by FERPA.

    • In response to a judicial order, search warrant or any valid subpoena, and then only upon the condition that the student and parents are notified in advance of disclosure of the information, except in the case of:

      1. Grand jury subpoenas where the court has ordered PWCS not to disclose the existence of contents of the subpoena;

      2. Law enforcement subpoenas where the issuing court or agency has ordered or requested that the existence or contents of the subpoena not be disclosed; and

      3. Ex parte orders in connection with the investigation or prosecution of certain terrorism crimes under the USA Patriot Act of 2001.

    Any member of the PD who is provided access to personally identifiable information relating to a PWCS student agrees that he or she shall not disclose such information to any person or entity outside the PD other than as provided above, and shall not use such information for any purpose other than as specified above. The PD recognizes that, in the event such information is improperly disclosed by any member of the PD, the School Board may not allow that member of the PD to access personally identifiable information from Student Educational Records for at least five years, pursuant to FERPA.

  9. Agreement to Abide by School Board Acceptable Use Policy

    Any member of the PD who is provided Internet or intranet access to any information technology equipment or system-owned or operated by the PWCS shall agree to the terms and conditions set forth in the School Board’s Acceptable Use Policy, as set forth in PWCS Regulation 295-1, “Computer Systems and Network Services – PWCS Responsible Use and Internet Safety Policy,”except to the extent that such usage or access is otherwise intended to carry out the duties of the SRO or PD member as set forth in this MOU.

    The PD agrees to provide a copy of this MOU to each SRO, his or her supervisor, and any other member of the PD who seeks, or is provided, access to personally identifiable information relating to any PWCS student, as a condition of access to any such information.

  10. PWCS Investigations and Student Disciplinary Matters

    SROs may assist school administrators in the investigation of student misconduct related to the school, including threat assessments, but shall not be involved in the enforcement of the “Code of Behavior,” nor investigations which are not of a criminal nature. However, the SRO may be requested to attend disciplinary meetings or hearings to maintain safety and order, or because the SRO was a witness to the conduct or has relevant information relating to the incident giving rise to the proposed discipline.

  11. Investigations Involving PWCS Employees or Students of a Criminal Nature

    1. In the event of a joint investigation involving employee or student misconduct of a criminal nature which is school-related, the PD and PWCS shall cooperate, to the extent permissible under their own policies and regulations, to share evidence and testimony relevant to any criminal proceedings or employee disciplinary/dismissal proceedings.

    2. Where a SRO is assisting, at the request of school authorities, in the investigation of a school-related incident or any incident which may have potential consequences for the safety of students or school employees, he or she may interview students without advance parental consent. Examples of incidents which may have potential consequences for the safety of students and PWCS employees include student fights that may result in retaliation, threats against students or employees, gang-related offenses such as assault and battery and intimidation, or drug or weapon possession on school property, or at school-related activities.

  12. The Use of Drug-Detection Dogs for School Searches

    1. Scheduled Drug Searches

      The PD and the PWCS are firmly committed to deterring the use of illicit drugs.  Historically, drugs and/or paraphernalia related to the distribution or use of drugs have occasionally been found in secondary schools. The utilization of drug-detection dogs in PWCS is designed for both prevention and enforcement. 

      1. Drug Search Procedures

        1. An attempt shall be made to search each high school on at least an annual basis. 

        2. Middle schools shall be searched on an “as needed” basis, such as when reasonable suspicion of drug activity exists or there has been an increase in indicators of drug usage within the specific school’s student body.

        3. Elementary schools shall not be scheduled for routine searches.

        4. The Director of Risk Management and Security Services for the PWCS, in conjunction with the Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall develop a schedule that shall cause the least disruption with other school functions.

        5. The Director of Risk Management and Security Services shall then notify the principal of each school to advise them of the scheduled date for the drug search.

        6. The Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall be responsible for maintaining the search schedule.

          1. The search schedule shall be made available to the Chief of Police, Deputy Chief of Police, the Assistant Chiefs for Administration, Criminal Investigations, and Operations, Special Operations Bureau Commander, and the Vice/Narcotics Bureau Commander.

          2. Prior to the scheduled search, the Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall telephone the principal of each school on the day of the proposed search to alert them of the impending arrival of the search team.

      2. Planning and Conducting Drug Searches

        1. The operational team for the search shall consist of a representative from the Office of Risk Management and Security Services, the school principal, a SRO, a SRO Unit Supervisor, the drug-detection dogs, and the dog handlers.

        2. The Public Information Officer shall be notified of the search by the SRO Unit Supervisor. The PWCS Director of Communications shall be notified of the search by the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services.

        3. The school shall be placed on a temporary lockdown while the drug search is being conducted.

        4. Searching shall consist of a three pronged approach – common areas (e.g., lockers, gym lockers rooms), classrooms, and parking areas.

        5. Searching in common areas shall be conducted while students are held in their classrooms. 

        6. Common areas of the school containing lockers shall be searched by the drug-detection dog.

        7. Searching of a classroom shall be done after all students have exited the classroom.

        8. The immediate proximity of individual persons shall not be subjected to being searched by a drug-detection dog unless reasonable suspicion exists that they are in possession of drugs or other contraband.

        9. Searching of the parking lot shall be done while all students are in the school building.

        10. Lockers identified by a drug-detection dog shall be marked and secured and a search of the locker shall be conducted by school staff and in accordance with School Board policy.

        11. If contraband is located, the SRO shall seize all evidence and conduct a follow-up investigation.

        12. At the completion of the operation, the Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall conduct a debriefing.

      3. Press Release

        1. The Public Information Officer shall be responsible for press releases and shall collaborate with the PWCS Office of Communications Services.

        2. Any questions directed to the PD shall be referred to the Public Information Office. Any questions directed to PWCS shall be referred to the PWCS Department of Communications and Technology Services.

        3. The Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall be responsible for notifying the Public Information Office of the results of the operation.

    2. Unscheduled Drug Searches

      1. Procedures

        1. An attempt shall be made to conduct an unscheduled drug search of each PWCS high school on an annual basis.

        2. The PWCS middle and elementary schools shall not be searched unannounced.

        3. The Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall notify the Director of the Office of Risk Management and Security Services for the PWCS about the search. They shall establish a minimum of eight dates, per high school, for unscheduled drug searches.

        4. The Director of the Office of Risk Management and Security Services, or designee, shall coordinate with the principals of each high school to establish the list of unscheduled drug search dates for minimizing interference with educational activities.

      2. Planning and Conducting a Search

        1. The search shall be conducted similar to a planned search.

        2. The operational team for the search shall consist of a representative from the Office of Risk Management and Security Services, the school principal, a SRO, a SRO Unit Supervisor, the drug-detection dogs, and the dog handlers.

        3. The Public Information Officer shall be notified of the search by the SRO Unit Supervisor no later than 30 minutes prior to the search. The PWCS Department of Communications and Technology Services shall be notified of the search by the Director of the Office of Risk Management and Security Services after the search has been completed.

        4. The school shall be placed on a temporary lockdown while the drug search is being conducted.

        5. Searching shall consist of a three pronged approach – common areas (e.g., lockers, gym lockers rooms), classrooms, and parking areas.

        6. Searching in common areas shall be conducted while students are held in their classrooms. 

        7. Common areas of the school containing lockers shall be searched by the drug-detection dogs.

        8. Searching of a classroom shall be done after all students have exited the classroom.

        9. The immediate proximity of individual persons shall not be subjected to being searched by a drug-detection dog unless reasonable suspicion exists that they are in possession of drugs or other contraband.

        10. Searching of the parking lot shall be done while all students are in the school building.

        11. Lockers identified by a drug-detection dog shall be marked and secured and a search of the locker shall be conducted by school staff and in accordance with PD policy.

        12. If contraband is located, the SRO shall seize all evidence and conduct a follow-up investigation.

        13. At the completion of the operation, the Youth Services Bureau Commander, or designee, shall conduct a debriefing.

      3. Press Release

        1. The same procedures shall be adhered to for the press release as defined above for the planned drug searches.

  13. The Use of Body Worn Cameras (BWC)

    The PD and the PWCS are committed to deterring criminal activity and providing a safe learning environment. BWC use is intended to enhance public trust by documenting law enforcement encounters with the public while promoting accountability, transparency, and professionalism.  Law enforcement’s use of BWCs can be effective in reducing the number of violent confrontations, use of force incidents, and complaints.

    1. Procedures

      1. All SROs shall operate their BWC in compliance with the PD’s BWC policy (GO. 28.11), which has been provided to the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services.

      2. Any request by PWCS to view and/or obtain a recording must be approved by the Chief of Police or his designee. All requests for BWC recordings shall be reviewed and considered on a case by case basis. The BWC recordings are not maintained by PWCS and, therefore, are not student educational records within the meaning of FERPA.

  14. Long Guns (Shotguns/Rifles)

    All SROs shall have the option to take their PD-issued long gun in the school during their tour of duty.

    1. Procedures

      All SROs shall transport their PD-issued long guns in car-safe condition into the school by utilizing the carry case.

      1. The long guns shall be stored and locked at all times in the gun safe.

      2. The SRO shall remove the long gun from the safe at the end of their tour of duty and transport it from the school in the carry case to their cruiser.

      3. No long guns shall be left in the school overnight or over the weekend.

      4. The PD shall purchase all of the single long gun safes and the PWCS shall install the safes in each high and middle school.

  15. Reports Required to be Submitted by the PWCS

    The purpose of this section is to provide a cooperative arrangement for coordination and utilization of services of the PD relating to certain reports required to be submitted by the PWCS pursuant to § the Virginia Code.

    PWCS shall implement the requirements of § 22.1-3.1 of the Virginia Code and provide the PD the notices required by that statute in conformance with law and PWCS Regulation 723-2, “Verification of Date of Birth.”

  16. Reports Required to be Submitted to the PWCS

    As required by Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1, the PD shall report to the Superintendent of Schools (through the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services) and the principal (or designee) of the school, all incidents known to the PD involving PWCS students, as those incidents are defined in Subsection A of that statute, and shall report to the Superintendent of Schools (through the PWCS Office of Risk Management and Security Services) and the principal (or designee) of the school, all offenses committed by a student, as those offenses are defined in Subsection B of the statute, and whether the student has been released to his parents or on bond.

  17. Duration/Termination of MOU

    The term of this MOU shall be for a period of one calendar year from the date of execution of this MOU by both parties. This MOU shall renew for successive three-year periods, unless otherwise terminated in writing by either party with at least 30-days’ notice, prior to the renewal date.

IT IS HEREBY AGREED that

Barry M. Barnard, Chief of Police, Prince William County Police Department

(COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, CITY OF MANASSAS) ss.

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, a Notary Public in and for the Commonwealth of Virginia, on this 8 day of August, 2018, by Barry M. Barnard.
Gina Marve Lapihuska, Notary Public
My Commission Expires: 10/31/2021

Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools, Prince William County Public Schools

(COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, CITY OF MANASSAS) ss.

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, a Notary Public in and for the Commonwealth of Virginia, on this 22 day of August, 2018, by Steven L. Walts.
Claudia Lucas Cartagena, Notary Public
My Commission Expires: April 30, 2021

Approved as to form
County Attorney
8/1/2018