Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fairfax County Police Programs at Risk - Citizens To Be Directly Impacted

Crime Prevention, APO, VIPS, and other Citizen Programs
At Risk Of Being Impacted
Who Will Answer The Mail?


"This is your chance to let your voice be heard. Several services and programs offered by the police department have been offered up to be terminated in order to cover the projected budget shortfall. One of the many purposed cuts includes my position, Crime Prevention. This would be for each district station.

I know we have all worked hard to make Fairfax County a safe place to reside, work and visit. It is my fear that if some of these budget cuts are passed, we would be taking a giant step backward in the fight against crime.

Plan to attend one of the upcoming Community Forums to share your feelings on this matter. Speak out and let the police department and Board of Supervisors know what is important to you." (Fairfax County Crime Prevention Officer).

Please plan to attend one of the following two meetings, along with us, either tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, Lynbrook Elementary School, 5801 Backlick Road,Springfield, 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, October 23, Fair Oaks Church, 4601 West Ox Road, Fairfax, 7-9 p.m.

Most people have no idea what a Crime Prevention Officer does, but they are impacted. Ever send an email to the local police station? It was probably a Crime Prevention Officer that contacted you. Does your community have a Neighborhood Watch Program? That is coordinated through the station Crime Prevention Officer.

Those are just two examples.

"The primary focus of my job is to be a liaison between the citizens of the district and the officers of the Station. I wear many hats, though. The job may sound pretty tame or even lame, but that is not the case.

In actuality, I am busier now than I was when I was a detective assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section. Crime prevention is a very demanding position. Quite a bit of my time is spent with HOA and Neighborhood Watch groups. Helping them with issues that may be present in their community. I also need to stay focused on recent trends within the various patrol areas and alert the citizens to try and prevent future crimes.

On average, I get 75-100 emails a day with requests or questions. This could be from a citizen, an officer or the captain of the station. Some allow a quick response, but some require research. I am also required to attend three to four meetings a week, on average.

Then there are requests for community events. These events are usually in the evening or on a weekend. Again, some are easy to deal with while others require pre-planning.

Yes, I would still have a job if they were to cut this position. That is not an issue. I do enjoy my job. I think that the citizens would be lacking if they were to cut the crime prevention slot, though. A regular patrol officer would not be able to do justice to the program, as it would be too many responsibilities piled upon them, on top of their patrol duties. This would not be fair to that officer or the citizens.

You asked about VIPS. Unless that volunteer worked at least 40 hours a week in Crime Prevention, it would not work. There are many weeks where 60 hours are not enough to do what needs to be done. So unless you have someone without any other obligations, I just do not see it working. I am the APO and VIPS coordinator, as well. So, I know how many hours most of them contribute. There are only one or two that have a lifestyle (i.e.- retired, no kids, etc.) that would allow them to put in the hours needed to do the job. This is not something that could be worked on for a few hours each week. Someone needs to be here and remain current with requests and evolving situations.

If you wish to discuss this further, we can. There are approximately 30 areas of responsibility which my job covers. Under those areas of responsibility there are many sub-headings. An example of this would be:

Neighborhood Watch-
1. Quarterly training held at the station for community members needing training
2. New Watches – help watches get started, provide training

Watch Maintenance
1. Monthly contact and documentation
2. Watch Revitalization- getting inactive Watches started back up
3. Provide new watches with signs and replace any damaged or stolen signs.

Coordinator’s Meetings

Distribution of Information to Watches (and Community as a Whole)
1. News Releases
2. Fliers

E. Address Community Concerns
1. Entering PSA Complaints
2. Meetings upon request


A. Promote Traffic Watch Program
B. Bicycle Safety Talks/displays
C. Pedestrian Safety talks/displays
D. Aggressive Driving (Laws)
E. Seat Belt talks/displays
F. Station Programs/Initiatives
G. VIN Etching
H. Lobby displays to coordinate with the awareness month/season

So, initially it may not look like a lot on the surface, but once you go below that, there are many areas that need to be focused upon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The session tonight and tomorrow has been cancelled.

If it is rescheduled, the blog will be updated with the new information.