City of Alexandria, VA
The Public Information Office / Media Services Unit
The Public Information Office (PIO) / Media Services Unit (MSU) of the Alexandria Police Department fosters cooperation and mutual respect between the Department and the news media. The members of the Media Services Unit are dedicated and highly trained individuals who understand the importance of using the media as a valuable resource to keep the public informed of the Department’s activities. The PIO is staffed by a civilian Commander, a civilian Public Information Officer with the help of three volunteers that work on a part time basis.
The PIO's primary responsibilities are assisting members of the media in completing the task of gathering information and reporting on news events impacting residents and visitors in the City of Alexandria, maintaining communication between the Department and the City Manager’s Office (CMO) and responding to inquiries from the public. Additionally, the PIO maintains compliance with national accreditation standards applicable to the unit.
The media service functions of the PIO are quite significant. The Washington, DC media market is the seventh largest in the United States. The PIO works with five television stations, four radio stations, three daily newspapers, two weekly newspapers and a wire service on a daily basis by responding to beat checks, answering questions by phone, researching requests and giving in-person and on-camera interviews.
Public information officers respond to the most serious crime and critical accident scenes and to all police scenes where the media is present. In addition, the PIO is responsible for notifying the CMO about certain events and offenses that occur within the City.
The PIO is staffed Monday through Friday from approximately 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PIO staff are on call and available 24 hours a day to answer requests from the media, Department staff and the CMO.
Jody D. Donaldson