As we previously reported, Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed FY 2014 includes the elimination of seven police officer positions by attrition. A new police memo details the potential impacts of those cuts.
“Until now, the Police Department has been able to make reductions without significantly affecting important programs,” says the memo. “That is no longer possible.”
The memo, which was written by three ACPD captains and sent to community groups, is below.
I wanted to share with you the latest news on the County’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, and how it will affect policing in Arlington.
As you may know, County Manager Barbara Donnellan recently presented her Proposed Budget to the County Board. She explained that Arlington faces a $22 million budget gap, and proposed closing that gap with a mix of service cuts and a tax rate increase. All County departments have been asked to make cuts.
When asked to identify potential areas for reduction, the police department examined many potential options for reductions including:
- Responding to calls for police service
- Follow-up investigations
After evaluating potential options, the decision has been made to propose reductions in staffing levels to the current District Policing Teams. I can assure you that we remain committed to working with the community to ensure that Arlington remains a great place to live, work and visit, but these staff reductions will impact the manner in which the teams currently do business. We truly value our partnerships with the Arlington Community and will work diligently to continue these strong relationships. Here are some details about the proposed reductions and how they will change the way we do community policing.
District Policing Team reductions
Twenty officers are currently assigned to the three District Policing Teams. The proposed reduction would ultimately trim that number to 13 sworn staff members. In addition, we will re-assign one captain position currently assigned to the District Teams to form an Operational Support Unit. The Operational Support Unit will be responsible for most of the ancillary duties currently assigned to the district captains and patrol commanders, allowing them to focus on core functions. We will reorganize our District Policing in two phases.
Should the Board accept the reductions as proposed, we will reorganize from three to two Community Policing Teams. These teams will still be geographically assigned. The exact geographic boundaries have yet to be determined, but our initial plan is to use Route 50 as a dividing line. Any civic associations which exist on both sides of Arlington Boulevard would be assigned to one team, for consistency. In this phase, each team will have one captain, one sergeant, one corporal and three officers.
Through attrition, the two teams will eventually be further consolidated to one large team. This single team will include one captain, two sergeants, two corporals and eight officers. We anticipate that this phase will occur sometime in the next 18 months.
The positions eliminated from the current District Team configuration will be re-assigned to core function areas within the Department.
We realize that some in the community may be concerned about these proposed changes. As you know, communities across the nation have faced years of constrained budgets, the result of the financial crisis, subsequent recession and slow economic recovery. We in Arlington remain very fortunate – we have been able to preserve our core services. Until now, the Police Department has been able to make reductions without significantly affecting important programs. That is no longer possible.
We remain committed to continuing our community partnerships and community policing efforts. While the staff reductions will certainly limit our ability to continue to provide community policing services at current levels, I can assure you that we will do our best to provide the community with the highest level of service possible. Our initial assessment of areas where the community may realize a reduction in service from the community policing teams could include the following:
- Fewer community, civic, business, security meetings/workgroups attended
- Less participation in general and safety presentations
- Less opportunity to participate in community events such as picnics, parades, etc.
- Fewer staff to focus on quality of life issues in a specific community
We will work collaboratively to facilitate a smooth transition into this new structure, should it be adopted. At this point, no decisions have been made regarding staff assignments, but should the County Board adopt the proposed reductions we will make assignments quickly and ensure that you are kept informed.
Hat tip to John Antonelli
On Monday, management at the Archstone Ballston Square apartment building (850 N. Randolph Street) sent an email to residents detailing some incidents of excessive partying. The email also reminds residents of rules against tossing objects off balconies and holding drinking game competitions in apartment common areas.
Said the tipster who sent us the memo: “Archstone Ballston Square is turning into quite the frat [house].”
Having an enjoyable summer and being able to enjoy our outdoor spaces such as the BBQ area, Pool and Sundeck requires the cooperation of all residents.
This past Friday night someone threw beer bottles from their balcony into the pool and onto the pool deck. Thankfully the lifeguard was attentive and able to clean this out with only a minor delay in re-opening the pool for everyone’s enjoyment. Glass in the pool or on the pool deck poses a huge accident risk and also will force us to shut down the area possibly for extended periods of time. Please be reminded that tossing anything from your balcony is completely unacceptable and it poses dangers to the entire community. The weekend prior we had a minor mulch fire because of cigarettes being tossed off.
In addition, drinking games of any sort are prohibited in common areas. We do not allow alcoholic beverages to be taken to the pool area and alcohol cannot be consumed in the public areas such as the BBQ deck and courtyard. Going forward we will have to enforce this rule and resident found drinking will be asked to retreat to their own apartments. Only plastic cups or bottles may be used on the deck.
Due to the huge crowds we saw last weekend we can only allow each resident to bring one additional guest this summer. Please be reminded that we will hold residents responsible for their guests behavior as well.
Please assist us in maintaining this an enjoyable area for all residents by following the above rules and allowing your neighbors to enjoy the facilities as well.
Archstone Ballston Square
If you live in an apartment or condo, have you had similar incidents happen at your building?
Photo via Google