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Volunteer Opp: Arlington County Auxiliary Police Unit

by ARLnow.com March 3, 2011 at 9:02 am 4,138 79 Comments

It’s perhaps the only volunteer opportunity in Arlington that requires a background investigation, polygraph exam, physical fitness test, drug screening and a sworn oath to protect and serve.

The Arlington County Auxiliary Police Unit is looking for a few good men and women to join their ranks.

The unit was formed in 1942 to help keep Arlington safe while the full-time police force was reduced due to military service during World War II. It has been an active unit ever since.

Auxiliary officers volunteer at least 180 hours per year performing various law enforcement functions, including:

  • Bike and foot patrols of county roads, parks, trails, and commercial areas
  • Handling accidents and other traffic incidents
  • Assisting at DUI checkpoints
  • Conducting child safety-seat inspections and installations
  • Providing security and crowd control at special events, such as the Marine Corps Marathon, July 4th celebration, Crystal City 5K Friday and other parades, festivals, and races
  • Patrolling shopping malls during the holidays

Interested applicants should be “21 years of age, a resident of Northern Virginia, and a U.S. citizen with 60 college credit hours and a good driving record.” Find more information here or here, or call Heather Hurlock at 703-228-4057.

  • OX4

    Must also be able to lean against a railing in a shopping mall and yell to shoppers, “HEY! What are YOU doing? Move along.”

    • Arlingtoner

      Very disrepectful to those that volunteer their time and put themselves in danger for your benefit.

      • OX4

        Relax, Mom. It was a South Park joke.

    • Cindy

      Yup, obviously you’ve seen Heather hanging out at Pentagon City

  • Shirley

    This is really questionable journalism. Last thing we need is any of the arlnow regulars having police power, even if auxiliary…. 🙂

    • AllenB

      Some of them already think they do so this would be making it official.

      • KalishniKEV

        Move along, sir.

        • ClarendonKing

          I would heart it so much. Finally a release for all my pent up office working, people pleasing frustrations.

          “Respect My Authority! Show Me Your Proof Of Citizenship! In Fact, Show Me Proof You Are From Arlington, What? You’re From Columbia Pike Area? You’re Under Arrest!”

  • Overgrown Bush

    I wonder if you get free doughnuts with the gig.

  • Pip

    Polygraph to be a mall cop, where do I sign up?

  • Good time

    I did a “like” program for the park service. They basically treat you like an extra set of eyes. You have NO power what so ever, as to deter the militants. You will not receive a firearm or any form of restraint. I basically helped people who were lost, people who were injured, and occasionally identified the super-drunk person passed-out on the park bench and called the authorities. I imagine the Police will have you posted at a entrances to events and assisting the real cops so they can do cop things instead of admin things. My 2 cents

    • Arlingtoner

      There appears to be more to it than your last program. They provide a wide variety of police services to the county. outside of standing at a lot entrance.

  • 4Arl

    Volunteers are being used more and more to do work that used to be paid. Jobs, hours, programs and services have been cut. Almost what you would expect in a conservative (!) county. Yet taxes and fees have doubled in a decade. Isn’t there something very wrong with this picture?

    • mehoo

      Taxes and fees have doubled in a decade? Can you back that up?

      • madisonmanor

        Taxes? Absolutely I can back up his claim. When I bought my house on 28 July 2002, the annual property taxes were $3328 – I can show you the closing cost sheet. They are now at $6650.

        • rcw

          Because your property value increased. You may be paying more tax but THE tax rate hasn’t changed this dramatically. Do we have to have this conversation again?

        • CW

          I posted this once and am going to repost it every time somebody complains about property taxes:

          “I would like to propose a moratorium on people complaining about their property taxes on this board. Given real estate prices around here, if you are lucky enough to own a home in Arlington, it means that you fall into one of four categories, in that you: 1) are extremely wealthy, 2) inherited it, 3) purchased it 10 or so years ago, before the boom, or 4) over-leveraged yourself and are in over your head. If you are 1, I don’t feel sorry for you. If you are 2 or 3, then feel free to sell it and make a tremendous profit. If you are 4, well, sorry. And, if you’re going to tell me that I’m wrong, and overgeneralizing, and that a normal person or a young couple of non-attorneys can afford to purchase a property in Arlington county, then please, let me know where I can do this, but only me, because otherwise you will create a rush, which will drive those prices up(sarcasm).

          Seriously, if you hate the property taxes so much, then sell your home for the $500k/$750k/$1M+ that it’s worth, move to a normal part of the country, buy five times the house for 1/2 the price, and use the rest to buy a beach home. Cry me a river.”

          • LyonSteve

            Just because the value of the housing increased that does not mean that the cost of services to the residents has increased.

          • Glebe Roader

            CW, who made you the all-knowing expert on owning a home in Arlington? Self-appointed, I guess.

          • CW

            The same person who made you the all-knowing expert on ad hominem attacks devoid of factual basis, apparently.

          • CW

            But to get back to the discussion, can you provide data to the contrary of what I said?

          • Glebe Roader

            Actually, I think YOU are the one to provide data on what YOU said. I don’t consider myself to be “lucky enough” to own a home in Arlington. I believe I work hard and make a good living. I guess I would need to know what you call “extremely wealthy?”

          • CW

            I am sure that you work hard and make a good living. It’s just that, for most people outside of some white-collar professions, that is not enough to make the goal of home ownership possible in Arlington, where the barrier to entry to the housing market in a decent neighborhood is probably in the $150-200k annual household income range.

          • rcw

            Madisonmanor would fall under the category of CRY ME A RIVER. Based on the Arlington County tax assessment, their home went up in value from about $400K to over $800,000. A 100% ROI in 7 years.

            “Tax rates in Arlington are expressed in dollars per one hundred dollars of assessed value. For example, in 2010 a tax rate of 95.8 cents per $100.00 would result in a real estate tax of $3,832 on a property assessed at $400,000.”

          • CW

            Zillow agrees for the Madison Manor neighborgood.

            http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1109-N-Powhatan-St-Arlington-VA-22205/12071187_zpid/

            Scroll down to the map and look at the estimates by lot.

          • CW

            *neighborhood

          • madisonmanor

            Mehoo asked a question. I merely answered with proof that my TAXES – not tax rate – doubled in a decade (less than a decade, actually). Not a complaint, just a statement of proof that was requested. I think the bigger question is why such a jump in the taxes collected for FY2010 vs FY2002 ($769.4M vs $443.7M – a 73.5% jump in 8 years) and in the general fund (all revenue – $946.8M vs $581.7M – a 63% jump in 8 years) and what more are we getting for all that extra money than 8 years ago? Inflation of ~3% per year doesn’t come close to accounting for it. Data readily available at your arlingtonva.us site.

          • rcw

            The short answer is increased taxes, a larger wealthier tax base and inflation. FYI Arlington still has one of the lowest property tax rates in Northern Virginia.

            “The adopted fiscal 2011 general fund budget totals $955.9 million, which reflects an increase of $9.1 million or 1% from the fiscal 2010 revised budget. Management addressed a $65 million budget gap through an equal combination of revenue increases and expense reductions. The real property tax rate has increased for three consecutive fiscal years or 17% in aggregate to $0.958 per $100 in assessed value (AV) in fiscal 2011. Despite the recent increases the county’s tax rate is still among the lowest in northern Virginia. The budget includes $13.7 million in general fund cuts which are on top of $19.5 million in service reductions included in the fiscal 2010 budget. Approximately 57 permanent positions are eliminated, of which about 20 were filled, bringing the two-year total reduction in personnel to 160 position or less than 5% of the total workforce. The budget continues to appropriate for pay-go capital, fully funds the county’s pension and OPEB liabilities, and restores merit step increases (moderately offset by a one-day furlough). The county’s largest expenditure commitment remains the top-ranking Arlington Public Schools. Funding will increase by 2.3% or $8 million to $360.3 million in fiscal 2011 representing 38% of total spending.”

            http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100630006825/en/Fitch-Rates-Arlington-County-Virginia-GOs-AAA

          • rcw

            And what you are getting is a AAA credit rating, a nationally ranked public school district, 4% unemployment and a commercial real estate vacancy rate well below the national average through the worst economic crisis in a 100 years.

          • rcw

            Furthermore your property tax rate was higher in 2002 when you purchased your home than it is today.

            Year Value Rate Payment

            1995 $186,360 $0.94 $1,752
            1996 $185,400 $0.96 $1,780
            1997 $186,030 $0.986 $1,834
            1998 $186,130 $0.998 $1,858
            1999 $191,350 $0.998 $1,910
            2000 $202,770 $1.023 $2,074
            2001 $224,390 $1.023 $2,296
            2002 $269,500 $0.993 $2,676
            2003 $316,000 $0.978 $3,090
            2004 $369,600 $0.958 $3,541

          • madisonmanor

            and the SERVICES I get for that increase are no different. Except that I also have the opportunity to pay additional rates for water, sewer, trash etc.

          • rcw

            And if you want a lower tax rate name the service(s) you would like to have cut. We are a pay-to-go county so your tax decrease would have to be matched dollar for dollar with service cuts.

          • CW

            The river of tears is swelling and lapping against the banks.

            You gained 400 grand of equity in 7 years. I would love to be in your position. Feel free to cash out whenever you wish.

          • madisonmanor

            You’re missing the point, like many of the people on the blog, but that’s not surprising since you are trying to justify why Arlington’s budget today is roughly 70% larger than it was a mere 8 years ago – and the county is STILL hugely in debt from the bonds. Think about that for a minute – do YOU make 70% more today than you did 8 years ago? Do you SPEND 70% more than you did 8 years ago? I specifically wasn’t talking about tax RATES, just the tax I pay. And why should I have to have water, sewer & trash services CUT when I pay more for them now too? And why is it a river of tears, CW? Just looking for someone in charge to exercise fiscal restraint.

          • rcw

            The County is 14% larger then it was 10 years ago. So an increased budget would be expected. Again please highlight what you want services you want cut.

            And to say the county is hihgly in debt is outright false:

            Fitch expects the county’s moderate debt ratios will remain stable. Plans to issue approximately $300 million in GO bonds, including the proposed issue, to fund a portion of its $1 billion capital improvement plan (CIP) through 2016 are offset by the very rapid repayment of outstanding debt. The county’s debt structure does not include exposure to variable rate debt instruments or derivatives. Formally adopted and conservative debt management guidelines that include a detailed debt capacity analysis serve as the financial framework for the county’s capital initiatives. Debt per capita is moderately high offset by the strong economic characteristics of the county. Debt service costs will account for slightly more than 9% of total spending staying within the 10% policy limit.

          • CW

            Umm…I don’t think you understand how property taxes work. Income taxes are assessed based on the VALUE of your income. So if you make more income, you pay more tax, in absolute terms (and as a percentage, in a country with our tax structure). Similarly, property taxes are based on the VALUE of your property. Property taxes have gone up (in absolute terms, not as a percentage) because the VALUE of your property has gone up. You have accrued 400k in equity in 7 years. That is cash in your pocket, should you wish to sell. If you were to make money in the stock market by selling stock, you would have to pay capital gains on that profit as well. It’s just that the property tax system has you paying annually based on value, rather than simply at the time of a sale.

          • mehoo

            madisonmanor:

            On the 70% thing – you can’t compare that to an individual. The county has grown. More businesses, more residents, and therefore more services to provide. You have to factor that in. The closest analogy is if you got married and had a bunch of kids. Yeah, then you might increase your spending by 70%.

          • Overgrown Bush

            CW, I’m not sure you realize what you are saying. If I had sold my home five years ago, I’d be able to sell it for roughly $200K more than I could now. I know that as a fact. And, I was taxed on that value. But, I didn’t sell. Now the home is worth less. Shouldn’t I get a refund then???? You see, the value of the home is not realized UNTIL it is sold. Just look at it from a cash flow standpoint. If you pay is flat, and your taxes go up because the paper value of your home goes up, you are worse off from a cash flow standpoint. Would you really sell your house just to have more cash flow? No. And, nothing says the home won’t decrease in value and you’ve then paid more in taxes but realized nothing when you do sell it.

            Personally, I hate property taxes. Home tax, car tax, etc. Taxed every year on the same damn thing. Tax me once when I buy it, based on the cost of it and be done.

          • CW

            I don’t disagree so much with what you say here. Those are the rules of the game. You could have sold it for that extra 200k, and the system, which taxes based on your equity/value, realized that. Just like a gambler can quit when he’s ahead, so can a homeowner. Or he can wait for the value to keep going up, and maybe he will get stung.

            Your argument is, as presented in your second statement, against the system. I can’t dispute that. You don’t agree with the property tax system. I think the car tax is somewhat foreign myself, as I’m sure most people not raised in VA do. I do think that assessing taxes on homes annually makes more sense, because it allows for predictable revenues each year, as opposed to revenues that spike when the market is hot and then go flat during a recession. One could make the argument that the revenue could be saved up for a rainy day (recession), but with such events impossible to predict, it would be tough.

            My original point, which is that someone is complaining that, when he gained 400k in equity, he had to pay more in taxes, still stands.

          • Overgrown Bush

            I hear you, CW. I’ll still maintain my point too. While he may be richer on paper, if he doesn’t have the income (cash flow) to pay the increased tax bill, he certainly feels poorer and may very well suffer the perils of someone with less money (late payment, car repo, etc.).

          • rcw

            Fitch expects the county’s moderate debt ratios will remain stable. Plans to issue approximately $300 million in GO bonds, including the proposed issue, to fund a portion of its $1 billion capital improvement plan (CIP) through 2016 are offset by the very rapid repayment of outstanding debt. The county’s debt structure does not include exposure to variable rate debt instruments or derivatives. Formally adopted and conservative debt management guidelines that include a detailed debt capacity analysis serve as the financial framework for the county’s capital initiatives. Debt per capita is moderately high offset by the strong economic characteristics of the county. Debt service costs will account for slightly more than 9% of total spending staying within the 10% policy limit.

          • 4Arl

            How does the Fitch quote, “Debt per capita is moderately high” support the statement “And to say the county is hihgly in debt is outright false:”? It seems to suggest the opposite.
            The county is running near the limits (debt service at 9% vs 10%) of the guidelines established to make the rating agencies happy, and that is a concern. With muni interest rates having gone up substantially in the last few months, this may raise questions about the ability to service the bonds to be issued for Wakefield within the 10% limit.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Same old crap. There is a distinction between tax, and tax rate and there are some who love dance around that distinction. While the tax rate may not have increased, taxes have. I’m paid in dollars, and am taxed in dollars. Regardless of the paper value of my property (which is unrealized until it sells), I am worse off if my pay does not increase any my tax bill does. That is his point.

          • rcw

            Then your beef is with the company that pays your wages not the County or the Board. If the increased value of your home has created a yearly tax burden that is too great you should sell your home and buy something that is more affordable. I think they call that personal responsibility. Stop waiting for government to solve your problems ;).

          • CW

            So if you give me a handful of cut and polished diamonds, I’m not worth anything more because the value is “unrealized”?

          • Overgrown Bush

            I wouldn’t give them to you under any circumstances.

            But, if you bought them for $100K their value is going to appreciate or depreciate depending on the market. You don’t see any profit or loss until you sell them.

          • CW

            But again, the argument is constrained by the bounds of the system within which we operate. If there was a system in which one were taxes on the value of said diamonds at a point in time, then yes, if the value doubled, the absolute tax amount would also double. The original poster did not seem to understand that.

          • borf

            This is a problem with the property tax. It’s a good argument for taxing people a different way.

          • rcw

            First time using words? What are you trying to say?

          • Overgrown Bush

            You do not realize the appreciation or depreciation on a stock until the stock is sold. You are not taxed on those gains either until the asset is sold. That’s not true with real estate.

          • borf

            Sorry you can’t understand, rcw, I thought it was pretty clear.

            OG – yes, that’s the problem.

          • BasedHerein

            CW, your preface to your repost makes it sound as if you think it’s somehow worth reiterating. Yet it’s neither well-written (you refer to over-leveraged people as “lucky enough to own”) nor sensible. It implies that people who pay property taxes have no business seeking value for their tax dollar, because in your eyes that constitutes whining. And it’s interesting that you accuse a respondent of not backing his/her post with data (“ad hominem attacks devoid of factual basis”) right after you make asinine comments about how far-fetched it is to think that even a “normal person or a young couple” could afford a home. However, I know DOZENS of “normal” single people who do it (just anecdotal). And at the same time that you’re telling ArlNow readers it’s unaffordable, you’re also telling those who are affording it (sometimes not by much) that they can cry you a river when they question how services they don’t see benefit from are getting more expensive.

            I’m not certain to what extent any individual’s taxes have gone up, so my post won’t attempt to address that. It’s more about pointing out that if I were you, I’d be asking ArlNow to remove my prior uninsightful post out of embarrassment rather than reissuing it for everyone to see, once again, how weakly my brain functions.

            Consider it free advice.

          • CW

            Oh hello, nice of you to show up to this board. I’ve never seen you post here before, so you’re either new, or a troll who likes to use different names every time he posts. Thanks for writing lots of personal attacks and still not using any facts to back them up.

            A few comments:

            Actually, overleveraged people are still lucky to own, given how tight the market is and how shortly most listings last around here. Also, while they may not be financially lucky, they are enjoying the benefits of homeownership, at least until the walls come figuratively crashing down.

            I did not say that people should not seek value for their dollar. What I was lamenting was the fact that someone, in a system where taxation is proportional to assessed value, was complaining about a linear increase in taxes due to a commeasurate increase in value. To those who cannot own so readily, it seems somewhat arrogant. “Oh, I just made $400k in 7 years by doing NOTHING, and now they have the gall to TAX me on it, despite the fact that that’s what I signed up for when I bought. Whatever shall I do? I’m ruined!” Now, if his value had gone up 10% and taxes had gone up 50%, well then of course there’s an issue there.

            Since you call me a hypocrite for not backing up my statements with data and then asking others for data, I guess you’re cut from the same cloth as well, since you then go and make a statement, strong enough to require ALL CAPS, that you then qualify as being “anecdotal” in basis. Since you know dozens of people, pull together some data for one. Tell me what they make, and where they live, and I’ll look it up on zillow and we can see if the numbers work out. That will be a useful discussion.

            My argument was regarding “normal” people for this country. Those in maybe the 50-75% median income range. I realize that that isn’t normal for Arlington, which is what I was saying. Those who own in Arlington are quite lucky, as it’s a very expensive place to buy property.

            I like how you try to use the 1st-grade-level argument of making strong personal attacks by stating something about the other person in a construction where you portray it as fact. It’s the FOX News method of debate – just say something insulting and it becomes fact. “Obama was raised in Kenya”. “CW’s brain functions weakly”. Real smart. I can do it too – BasedHerein, you clearly don’t even have a brain at all. And you eat your boogers. Teacher says it’s nap time now.

            Thanks for the free advice. I’ll lump it in with the other free advice that I get from the bums downtown, as it is of similar quality.

          • 4Arl

            And what if you’re a renter that’s not “lucky” enough to own the property? Real estate investors care a lot about cash flow, which means that higher property tax bills end up getting passed through either directly(commercial net lease) or indirectly (embedded in rent increases).

          • Robert Heinlien had a interesting property tax idea. The property owner sets the assessment value of the house, and pays the prevailing rate.

            If someone wants to buy the property, then he has to sell it for the rate he advertised.

        • mehoo

          To everyone on this little thread:

          Yes, this doesn’t really qualify as a tax increase, but still, madisonmanor’s point is correct that REVENUE has increased.

          But he hasn’t shown that revenue has DOUBLED in a decade, as 4Arl said. Nor has anyone talked about the fact that inflation increases prices and wages that the County must pay as well as tax revenue.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Actually, it may not be a tax rate increase, but could be a tax increase. The tax rate is the rate, the tax is the dollars.

          • borf

            Most people think “tax rate increase” when they here “tax increase.” It’s highly misleading to say “tax increase.” You wouldn’t call it a tax increase if you got a raise at work and paid more in taxes as a result.

            Let’s just call it what it is.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Actually, what I think is misleading is to say there is no increase (or even a decrease) when your tax bill goes up. That’s just political posturing.

          • borf

            Nobody said there wasn’t an increase though. You can say “tax revenue increase” or “tax bill increase” or “increase in tax burden” or “increase in tax owed.” Just don’t say “tax increase.” That strongly implies “tax rate increase” to most people.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Ugh.. I’d just like the coffers to flow backwards once in a while!

          • rcw

            This thread is getting overgrown (jokes!). Above, you said you could have sold your home for 200k more 2 years ago and were taxed at a value for your home that you now won’t receive at the time of sale. You said you should be given a refund.

            By that same logic if you sell your home at a price that is higher then the rate you were taxed at you should owe the county the difference. Or they should get a refund

            I am sure that out of fairness you would agree that is a good scheme.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Indeed, but I don’t agree it is a good scheme. Any other asset other than real estate and “personal property” is taxed on the gain at the time of sale.

      • 4Arl

        I forget the “tax rate” vs. “tax” discussion- I should have been clearer, and so I’ll reference the terms used by the county. The current county budget documents (FY 12 proposed) use the phrase “average tax and fee burden on County households”. The reported total for CY2010 is $6,397. The older budgets don’t appear to be online for some reason so I had to dig a bit, but the FY05 budget includes a history using the term “major residential taxes and fees for Arlington County for the average household”. For CY2000, the total is $3,185. There are slight differences, for example the 2000 summary value does not reduce the personal property tax by the state car tax relief, while the 2010 includes it and therefore lists a lower amount. Nevertheless, the reported CY2010 total is 200.8% of the CY2000 total, doubling in a decade.

        • Overgrown Bush

          Finally, some good data to back up an position. Good job.

    • Overgrown Bush

      That money is needed to pay all the lawyers.

      • Dan

        Not to mention Artisphere…I wonder how many outside lawyers it takes to fill Artisphere (apologies to John and Paul).

  • Joe M.

    I’ve considered doing this just so to get to know the police. Maybe get the old “professional courtesy” instead of a speeding ticket.

    • Good time

      Joe, I think you will really enjoy it. I got a chance to see exactly what they have to put up with. Or, you could just join a local Crossfit gym and meet Cops that way.

  • irishinva

    you are all a bunch of idiots!

  • Cindy

    Think twice before you apply. I have seen the woman in charge of the unit-who’s like 71 years old, no lie-yell at volunteers in front of other people before. The program has no loyalty to the men and women who serve. Plus, there’s a big Reno 911 thing going on-between the old woman who yells, fat dudes, and that little guy with the shaved arms and legs who always tries a little too hard to be macho with the hands on the gunbelt and the cocky swagger, the whole thing is a bit silly.

    • Mark

      Shaved arms and legs? Sounds like another exciting adventure of Captain Pedophile!

  • Tony Chiappini

    Agree with Cindy. The program is run like a monarchy. More than one person has left after a certain person yelled, “You will do as you are told!” Training stinks, there are no written job descriptions or formal evaluations, there is all kinds of favoritism, and the department does nothing to keep officers. In fact, one guy I know got let go for a concussion while riding in the Police Unity Tour. How’s that for treating your volunteers like crap?

  • Mark

    Yeah, WTF.

    Talk to some of the black officers who were eased out by senior officers in the program before you go signing up. This program is a friggin’ mess.

    Go to Fairfax if you want to be an auxiliary officer.

  • Mark

    Yup. I was an APO for a while. The full time officers were great, but leadership in the program is sorely lacking, and Heather is always running around the scenes, trying to prove that she knows something that you don’t, or that she has power. Do yourself a favor and go with Fairfax.

    • Ellenemm

      They do seem to have trouble keeping people. I like the safety seat program, but last time I had a seat installed, I was embarassed when this woman officer with gold badges began yelling at one of the other officers for not answering his phone. Unprofessional, and I would have quit on the spot.

  • dvw

    Good people in this program who would do better with someone else in charge. The auxiliary lieutenant who “leads” the program is all about power, control, being in charge. Time for Arlington County to put the program on a short leash, spend a few dollars on the men and women who devote so much time to this program, provide training, and start certifying its auxiliary officers. Either that or shut the program down.

  • Teuf

    I am a Marine and served in this program for a short period of time. Total lack of leadership. Avoid at all costs.

  • Nym

    I posted a comment on another site with this ad that cautioned people about this “opportunity,” and the comment was yanked. Any program that can’t stand up to public discussion, pro and con, is one that’s not worth the effort.

    Um, it’s called freedom of speech. Something about accountability….

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