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2020-1-8

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE LAUNCHES TROOPER RECRUITMENT WEBSITE

RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police is welcoming the New Year and a new decade with a new recruitment website. Located at www.vatrooper.com, the site is the first of its kind for the Department and highlights the Virginia State Police mission, culture, Academy life and extensive career opportunities available to trooper-trainees.

“This website has been a long-time coming and we recognize its vital importance towards attracting a new generation of diverse applicants to join the state police family,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The site is mobile-friendly and highlights the multitude of unique career opportunities the Virginia State Police has to offer those interested in a law enforcement career.”

The new website, created in partnership with CapTech Consulting, provides a user-friendly, informative experience for those visiting the site. In an effort to reach a broader, more diverse population of applicants, the site provides a behind-the-scenes narrative of life as a trooper, the steps to becoming a Virginia trooper, training, career opportunities, benefits, Recruitment Unit contacts and direct access to an employment application. The mobile-friendly website will soon include video vignettes featuring state police personnel and their stories.

“We, as a statewide law enforcement agency, must reflect the populations we serve and protect across the Commonwealth,” said Colonel Settle. “Every trooper is held to an oath to perform his or her duties ‘…without fear, favor, or prejudice.’ This new recruitment website is specifically designed to reinforce our employees’ dedication to duty with each and every contact we have with the public. The Virginia State Police is fully committed to embrace inclusivity and diversity in all its forms, especially among its workforce.”

“There are a host of best practices to advance workforce diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia. “This recruitment website is only one of those many tools and an important step in Virginia State Police’s overall commitment to diversifying its workforce.  While we have much more to do, this step signals the state police’s continuing efforts to achieve a fundamental shift in its sworn workforce and the overall culture of the agency, so that it can more effectively serve and protect a diverse Commonwealth.   I am looking forward to working together to further this important work, so that the agency becomes a national exemplar for issues relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion in law enforcement.”

By the end of this year, the state police Recruitment Unit will have made contact with more than 2,300 Virginians and out-of-state residents in its ongoing efforts to build a more diversified workforce by attracting women and men of the highest quality and character.

“Virginia’s robust economy makes for a very competitive field among all employers to attract and retain qualified job seekers,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “In an effort to help state police fill critical positions, Governor Northam committed this year to pay raises for all state employees and previously supported an increase in the starting salary for new state troopers. The launch of the state police recruitment website expands the Department’s reach and access to potential applicants.”

Starting salary for a new trooper entering the Virginia State Police Academy is $44,290. Not only do trooper-trainees earn a salary while training at the Academy, but also receive benefits including life insurance, health insurance, sick leave and paid vacation.  Twelve months following graduation from the State Police Academy, a new trooper’s annual salary increases to $48,719. Troopers assigned to the Northern Virginia region start at $55,340 upon graduation and then, 12 months after graduation, their annual salary increases to $60,874. For more information on salary, benefits, training, etc., go to www.vatrooper.com and contact a state police recruiter.

WARNER, FISCHER ANNOUNCE GROWING SUPPORT FOR PROTECTING CONSUMERS AGAINST DARK PATTERNS ONLINE

~ Senators announce two new bipartisan cosponsors to bill that combats dark patterns” designed to trick users into giving up their personal data ~

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) announced two new bipartisan co-sponsors for their legislation to protect consumers from being tricked into giving away their personal data online. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), two senior members of the Senate Commerce Committee, have co-sponsored the Warner-Fischer legislation to prohibit large online platforms from using deceptive user interfaces, known as “dark patterns” to trick consumers into handing over their personal data.

“Whether you bought Christmas gifts online, downloaded a new messaging app, or tried to navigate a major browser’s byzantine privacy settings, chances are you were a victim of a dark pattern. In fact, if you wanted to score that extra discount at checkout, these design tactics most likely manipulated you into handing over more than just your email address to get that deal,” Sen. Warner. “I’m grateful to have the support of Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Thune on this important bill to make sure Americans have more transparency about, and control over, their interactions online.”

“Nearly every time Americans use a new app on our smart phones or browse social media from our laptops, we run into dark patterns. These unethical tricks online platforms use as they battle to capture attention and manipulate users must be stopped. I am pleased to have expanded bipartisan support for this legislation that combats risks to consumer choice and privacy online,” said Sen. Fischer.

“Dark patterns are manipulative tactics used to trick consumers into sharing their personal data. These tactics undermine consumers’ autonomy and privacy, yet they are becoming pervasive on many online platforms,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This legislation would help prevent the major online platforms from using such manipulative tactics to mislead consumers, and it would prohibit behavioral experiments on users without their informed consent.”

“We live in an environment where large online operators often deploy manipulative practices or ‘dark patterns’ to obtain consent to collect user data, so I’m glad this bills takes meaningful steps to advance consumer transparency,” said Sen. Thune. “I particularly applaud the provisions of this bill that require large online operators to be more transparent about when users are subject to behavioral or psychological research for the purpose of promoting engagement on their platforms. I want to thank Sens. Warner and Fischer for leading this effort, and I’m glad to join them and Sen. Klobuchar in cosponsoring this important legislation.”

The bipartisan Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) Act aims to curb manipulative dark pattern behavior by prohibiting the largest online platforms (those with over 100 million monthly active users) from relying on user interfaces that intentionally impair user autonomy, decision-making, or choice. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Enables the creation of a professional standards body, which can register with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to focus on best practices surrounding user design for large online operators. This association would act as a self-regulatory body, providing updated guidance to platforms on design practices that impair user autonomy, decision-making, or choice, positioning the FTC to act as a regulatory backstop.
  • Prohibits segmenting consumers for the purposes of behavioral experiments, unless with a consumer’s informed consent. This includes routine disclosures for large online operators, not less than once every 90 days, on any behavioral or psychological experiments to users and the public. Additionally, the bill would require large online operators to create an internal Independent Review Board to provide oversight on these practices to safeguard consumer welfare. 
  • Prohibits user design intended to create compulsive usage among children under the age of 13 years old.
  • Directs the FTC to create rules within one year of enactment to carry out the requirements related to informed consent, Independent Review Boards, and Professional Standards Bodies.

Sen. Warner has been raising concerns about the implications of social media companies’ reliance on dark patterns for several years. In 2014, Sen. Warner asked the FTC to investigate Facebook’s use of dark patterns in an experiment involving nearly 700,000 users designed to study the emotional impact of manipulating information on News Feeds.

Sen. Warner is also recognized as one of Congress’ leading voices in an ongoing public debate around social media and user privacy. He has written and introduced a series of bipartisan bills designed to protect consumers and promote competition in social media. The Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act will require data harvesting companies such as social media platforms to tell consumers and financial regulators exactly what data they are collecting from consumers, and how it is being leveraged by the platform for profit.​ The Honest Ads Act will help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements. The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act is a bipartisan bill to encourage market-based competition to dominant social media platforms by requiring the largest companies to make user data portable – and their services interoperable – with other platforms, and to allow users to designate a trusted third-party service to manage their privacy and account settings, if they so choose.

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