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Law Enforcement Officers Seminar

December 11-12, 2023, the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution hosted its first in-person Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Seminar since May 2019. Twenty-four Officers from across Virginia returned for a “Constitutional Foundations of Law Enforcement Seminar” led by Tim Longo, who has over 40 years serving in law enforcement and is currently Associate Vice President for Safety and Security and Chief of Police, UVA; and Tim Heaphy, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, an extraordinarily experienced investigator, lecturer at UVA School of Law, and a partner in the Willkie law firm.

This seminar began with powerful and practical underpinnings of constitutional law enforcement by Chief Tim Longo. On Day 2, Tim Heaphy briefly recapped how the Constitution and the Preamble articulate principles for Law Enforcement, and then went in to a deep discussion of the facts, similarities, differences, and lessons learned from Charlottesville’s August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally and the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Center began offering constitutional training for law enforcement in 2009. Constitutional training for LEOs focuses on both the legal and aspirational components of constitutional policing. That is to say, participants not only consider the legal framework of policing under the Constitution, but they also consider the ways in which they are the Constitution by upholding the values and ideals of America’s governing documents through their actions.

Montpelier’s law enforcement seminars rely on the perspectives of seasoned senior officers, prosecutors, and scholars to draw on their experiences in developing 21st-century policing models. The programs emphasize the role of law enforcement as guardians of the Constitution rather than working against it.

The Center plans to host two LEO seminars in 2024 in conjunction with Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services.