Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order Number 68 on Thursday last week, creating the Task Force on Public Safety Preparedness and Response to Civil Unrest.
The task force, which will be chaired by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, will be charged with evaluating the circumstances that led to the violent white supremacist events in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th and assessing the Commonwealth’s procedures for preparing and responding to events where civil unrest could occur.
The membership of the task force will be announced soon. The full text of Executive Order Number 68 can be found here: https://governor.virginia.gov/executive-actions/executive-orders/
We continue to grieve over the horrific events that unfolded in Charlottesville, but as we emerge from this nightmare many Virginians are beginning to ask fair questions about how this incident was handled.
The governor’s decision to create this Task Force is an appropriate step that will allow us to learn more about what transpired in Charlottesville to ensure that this never happens again. It is our hope that this Task Force will conduct a timely, exhaustive, and independent-minded review that unveils all of the facts, assesses the planning and preparedness of local and state government, and reviews the actions taken and direction given throughout the incident.
We strongly encourage the governor to include the Chairs of the General Assembly’s Public Safety committees and to fully disclose all reports, meetings, and findings of the Task Force to ensure confidence and determine whether a more independent investigation is necessary.
And while we agree this review is necessary, we have no doubt that the brave men and women of local law enforcement, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia National Guard who were on the ground in Charlottesville conducted themselves with the highest level of courage, dedication, and professionalism.
Over the next few weeks and months I will be spending time out in the district meeting constituents and scheduling meetings with businesses and groups in the 59th District. I encourage you to contact my office if you have an issue or concern that I may be able to help assist with. I value the feedback you provide as it helps me do my job representing you better. You can email me at DelMFariss@virginia.house.gov or call me at (434)821-5929. You can also join the conversation on our social media page at www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.