Arlington, VA

Amid a national protest movement calling for police reform, the Arlington County Police Department launched an effort to consider ways to further restrict public access to law enforcement radio communications.

Unlike D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, which encrypts all but one channel, Arlington’s police channels have been mostly open to public monitoring — by those with scanners or smartphone apps — with the exception of some devoted to sensitive operations. That may be about to change.

“A radio workgroup has been established to review our current practices to ensure they are aligned with procedures that protect the privacy of involved parties, ensure the integrity of operations and investigations, and reduce the unintentional disclosure of tactical information,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. The workgroup started its work in June.

“We regularly review our technology needs and the workgroup has been reviewing radio practices for about a month,” she said last week.

The workgroup’s existence had not been previously reported. The revelation comes after ARLnow — which monitors police and fire department frequencies — noticed several weeks ago that we were no longer able to hear radio traffic on ACPD 1B, a commonly-used channel.

Savage said that 1B has been encrypted “for years,” so it’s not clear how ARLnow had been previously able to monitor it with consumer radio equipment. Typical communications on the channel included brief updates on minor police incidents from officers in the field to supervisors.

ACPD 1A, the main police dispatch channel, is unencrypted, as is 1C, a channel typically used by officers to communicate with one another during more significant incidents.

In a statement sent to ARLnow, County Manager Mark Schwartz said that 1A will likely to remain open, but said “no final decisions have been made” about secondary channels.

We encrypt some secondary public safety radio communications to maintain the integrity of the investigation, ensure we don’t unintentionally share tactical information, and safeguard the privacy of those involved (including name, social security number, birth date, etc.). We regularly review our technology needs and practices to align with best practices. There is a regional plan to encrypt public safety (police, fire, EMS) operating channels. Several agencies in the region have already implemented encryption and everyone is moving in that direction.  This review is unrelated to any current events involving law enforcement.

There is no plan to limit public access to the Police Department’s primary radio channel, 1A, where calls for service are dispatched to officers. Our Police Department remains committed to transparency and shares information related to criminal incidents through the Daily Crime Report, Online Crime Map, Open Data Portal and press releases. We also use Arlington Alert to provide emergency notifications in the event of a public safety threat to the community. The work group is evaluating which, if any, additional secondary channels may be encrypted; however, no final decisions have been made.

Late last year, Arlington County started disabling public traffic camera feeds during routine crashes and other incidents, similarly citing privacy concerns.

Scanners are mostly used by media outlets and hobbyists. While dispatch channels are useful for alerting media to significant incidents, it’s harder to suss out the routine incidents that may have news value without hearing updates from officers on scene via secondary channels. Also lost are things like road closures and small details that can be a jumping off point for other reporting.

ARLnow broke the story of ACPD officers assisting Park Police near the White House, for instance, in part because of scanner activity.

Concerns about operational security and personal privacy due to open police channels are addressed, at least in part, by current practices. ACPD currently has secure channels that cannot be monitored, private messages are often sent via the mobile computer system in every police cruiser, and officers will routinely arrange cell phone calls to relay sensitive information that is best not transmitted over the public airwaves.

ARLnow is not aware of any incident over the past 10 years in which a police operation in Arlington was disrupted as a result of someone using a police scanner.

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Most people arrested in Arlington are Black and most do not reside in Arlington.

That’s according to 2019 arrest data shared by the Arlington County Police Department, at the request of ARLnow and a local community group. Its release follows calls for police reform and nationwide protests over the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement.

ACPD officers arrested 3,613 people in 2019, according to the data, and just over half were Black. Only 35.8% of those arrested live in Arlington.

The data provided says 45% of arrestees were white, but that includes those most of the 19.6% of arrestees identified as Latino. (Latino is considered an ethnicity while Black, white, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native are classified as races in the ACPD data.)

According to the latest Census estimates, 61.4% of Arlington’s population is non-Hispanic white, 15.6% is Hispanic/Latino, 11.1% is Asian/Pacific Islander, 9.7% is Black, just under 3.6% is multiracial and 0.6% is Indigenous.

More on the ACPD arrest data, from a report that accompanied it:

Of the 3,613 arrestees, 1,830 were identified as Black (50.7%) and 1,625 (45.0%) were identified as White. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islanders 118 arrests (3.3%), American Indian/Alaskan Native 3 arrests (0.1%) and Other/Unknown/Blank Race 37 arrests (1.0%) made up the remainder. Ethnicity of persons are recorded separately from race. Arrestees identified as Hispanic/Latino ethnicity accounted for 708 arrests, 19.6% of total arrests.

Most arrestees (64.2%) did not identify Arlington as their residence. There was some disparity in the Arlington-resident status of arrestees across racial groups. American Indian/Alaskan Natives individuals (66.7%) were the most likely to be an Arlington resident, then Asian individual arrestees (52.5%), followed by White individuals (43.8%), then Black individuals (27.2%). Unknown race individuals were listed as Arlington residents 56.8% of the time. […]

Most arrestees were either 18-25 years old (26.7%) or 26-35 years old (31.4%). The remaining arrestee age cohorts of 36-45 (16.0%) , 46-55 (10.0%), 12-17 (8.3%) and 56+ years old (7.5%) combined for fewer than 50% of total arrestees. When age cohorts were grouped by race, they tended to closely resemble overall racial arrest distribution, with the exception of juvenile arrests. Of total arrested individuals ages 12-17, 61.0% were Black individuals and 36.7% were White individuals, compared to 50.7% and 45.0% across all ages

In a recent Williamsburg Yorktown Daily article about the disproportionate number of Black arrestees in that part of Virginia, a director of the state chapter of the ACLU quotes an unnamed former Arlington commonwealth’s attorney in explaining the county’s disproportionate arrest statistics as largely a function of the residency of those arrested.

Jenny Glass, director of advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia… said the previous commonwealth’s attorney in Arlington County gave a similar explanation when Glass noticed 60 percent of the arrests were black people even though they made up around 10 percent of the population.

“I was looking into if there was any validity why the jail in Arlington County had such a disparate [number] of Black people in it,” Glass said.

“It’s because we arrest a lot of people in D.C.,” Glass said was what the former commonwealth’s attorney told her.

The ACPD report similarly suggests that when residency is separated out, the racial disparities are not as stark. However, even among Arlington residents, the proportion of Black arrestees is still about four times higher than that of the population.

“A comparison of Arlington arrest data to Arlington demographic data is problematic because Arlington-residents only made up 35.8% of ACPD arrests in 2019,” the report says. “If we only examine Arlington-resident arrests – 55% were White individuals, 38.5% were Black individuals, 4.8% were identified as Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.6% were identified as Other/Unknown/Blank race, and 0.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native individuals.”

Meanwhile, Arlington officers wrote 38,766 non-parking citations in 2019 and the demographics of those receiving citations is more in line with the county’s population.

“Total traffic citations and warnings given to Arlington residents (28.5% of total citations/warnings) closely resemble the racial demography of Arlington,” the ACPD report says. “76.2% of traffic summons/warnings were issued to White residents, 14.2% to Black residents, 5.9% to Asian residents, 3.6% to Other/Unknown residents, and 0.1% to American Indian/Alaskan Native residents.”

The report adds that white and non-white drivers were equally likely to get off on just a warning during a traffic stop.

“Residents were slightly more likely to get a Traffic VUS Warning citation (23.0%) than non-residents (20.4%),” the report said. “Individuals identified as White and individuals identified as non-White received warning citations at virtually the same rate – 21.1% for drivers identified as White, 21.2% for drivers identified as non-White.”

Equity, particularly racial equity, was identified as a key 2020 priority for Arlington County government at the beginning of the year.

Local criminal justice reform advocates have called for Arlington Police Chief M. Jay Farr, who is retiring at the end of the year, to be replaced by a new chief “who is committed to justice system transformation, eliminating bias, and implementing new methods of policing.”

Farr wrote a letter to the Arlington community to accompany the release of the arrest data. The full letter is below.

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey says he should have, upon reflection, informed the community about his personal bankruptcy filing before November’s election.

Dorsey, who was sworn in for a second term last night, answered a series of questions from ARLnow about his bankruptcy, which was first reported by the Washington Post a few days after the election.

The Post reported in November that Dorsey, 48, “filed for bankruptcy last month after falling behind on his mortgage and accruing tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.” The paper noted that the bankruptcy filing came as Dorsey’s South Arlington home was facing possible foreclosure and as his wife dealt with health problems.

Questions have arose in the wake of the bankruptcy revelation. For one, given that the filing was made on Oct. 16, should voters have been informed prior to the Nov. 5 election?

Dorsey tells ARLnow that he now regrets not letting people know despite how personal the issue is for him and his family.

“In retrospect, I should have had a conversation with the community, no matter how difficult, when I filed for bankruptcy in mid-October,” Dorsey said via email Thursday evening. “I do believe, however, that I will demonstrate over the next four years that those who voted for me did not make a mistake.”

Dorsey was also asked about an assertion made by the bankruptcy trustee that he had not submitted his previous year’s state income tax return. Dorsey contended that he did, in fact, file his state taxes.

“I filed, yet I discovered at my bankruptcy hearing that the Commonwealth has no record,” he said. “I have resubmitted my 2017 filing.”

(By law, Virginia’s state tax office is prohibited “from providing information or commenting on specific taxpayer situations,” a spokeswoman said.)

Court documents show that Dorsey expects $5,000/mo in “other income” besides his annual County Board salary of just over $60,000. The bankruptcy trustee objected to that, writing that the $5,000/mo figure “has not been documented or verified.” Dorsey says that income comes from consulting work.

“I do policy and communications consulting,” he said. “I am not comfortable talking about my clients within the context of your article, but attest that they are exclusively 501(c)3 non-profits, political non-profits, philanthropic foundations and universities.”

“None are foreign entities,” Dorsey added. “None do business with Arlington County. None have given to my political campaigns.”

Dorsey’s most recent conflict of interest form filed with the Clerk of the County Board discloses outside work with a pair of firms that paid him more than $5,000 annually: KNP Communications and Upswing Strategies, both in D.C.

Though serving on the Arlington County Board is ostensibly a part-time job, Dorsey’s work for Arlington extends beyond the County Board dais to representation on a number of regional bodies. Dorsey serves on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board, is a commissioner on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) and represents Arlington on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).

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Developer JBG Smith may be planning to let people sip alcohol as they browse shops and sit outdoors in shopping areas near Amazon’s future headquarters in Pentagon City and Crystal City.

State records with the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Authority Control Authority indicate that the developer applied for a “Commercial Lifestyle Center” license this week. The special license is part of a 2018 law allowing shoppers to bring alcoholic beverages into shops or outdoor plazas to encourage consumers to stay longer and attend outdoor events.

Under the new law, shopping centers can apply for a license provided they have at least 100,000 square feet of retail space and demonstrate they can police the area, as reported by the Washington Business Journal. The law also requires the application come from an association of businesses in a shopping area, not a single business on its own.

JBG Smith applied for the license via a newly-created organization called National Landing Business Owners Association Inc., which listed a phone number in the application matching JBG Smith’s Chevy Chase office.

A spokeswoman for the developer declined to comment when reached yesterday (Tuesday.)

The Association was formed in June by an attorney from the Arlington-based law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, which represents JBG Smith on several projects, including the two towers they’re building at Amazon’s Metropolitan Park headquarters.

One place in the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard area — dubbed “National Landing” — at which the developer could use the license would be its Crystal Square project. The project aims to redevelop the block of Crystal Drive into a “retail hub” between 15th Street S. and 18th Street S.

JBG Smith has called for adding new retailers like an Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, a grocery store, and an outdoor dining area to the block near the Crystal City Metro station.

Image via Gensler

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There are 234 students in Arlington Public Schools who have been granted an exemption from the state’s vaccine requirements for schools, according to APS officials.

The number of unvaccinated students is less than one percent (0.85%) of the total 27,521 students enrolled as of June of 2019. However, these numbers have proportionally doubled since 2015.

“We would need more time to investigate this thoroughly, however I believe it’s best attributed to the increase in student enrollment and how we’re capturing the data,” said Catherine Ashby, the Director of Communications for APS, in an email to ARLnow.

According to Virginia law, a family can request their child skip mandated vaccinations for valid medical or religious reasons.

“We are constantly communicating with APS so they can communicate with families,” said School Health Bureau (SHB) Chief Sarah N. Bell in a press release for the new school year. “What we don’t want is for any child to be excluded on the first day of school.”

The bureau collaborated with APS officials to check whether students are up to date on their vaccinations by the start of the school year.

This school year, Ashby said APS had 100% compliance for TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccines by the first day of school among the families who did not request an exemption. This is an improvement from the group of around 30 students who did not have their TDAP vaccinations up to date by the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

Debates around childhood vaccination exemptions came into the spotlight this year due to the onslaught of measles outbreaks. From January to September 5 the CDC confirmed 1,241 individual cases of measles, a disease once considered eradicated, across 31 states.

A July investigation from ABC 7 revealed 8,000 students who live and go to school in D.C. — whether public, private, charter, or parochial — do not meet proper vaccination requirements.

In Maryland, the rate of unvaccinated kindergarteners has nearly doubled over the last decade.

Currently there are four states which do not permit religious exemptions for vaccinations: New York, California, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Maine will remove the exemption in 2021.

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Arlington’s one-time Congressional candidate Gwendolyn Beck reportedly flew on notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s private jets, and was photographed partying with him and Prince Andrew.

Two British newspapers reported on the revelations last week, focusing on the prince’s association but also mentioning Beck. The 2014 independent candidate for Virginia’s 8th Congressional district told ARLnow today that her name is being “dragged into this” despite not doing anything wrong.

The Guardian reported last week that new flight logs indicate that Andrew flew on Epstein’s private jet with Beck in 1999, around the time Beck has said she managed about $65 million of the billionaire’s investment funds for Morgan Stanley. Beck flew with Epstein on his jet multiple times in the late nineties, logs show, including with former Treasury secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers.

Women have accused Epstein of using his Boeing 727 — nicknamed the “Lolita Express” — to traffic underage girls in New York, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Investigators recently subpoenaed his personal pilots to in connection to the accusations.

Logs have shown passengers over the years included world leaders like President Trump and Bill Clinton, but have not indicated passengers took part in the crimes with which Epstein was charged. Epstein died in a Manhattan jail cell last month; his death was ruled a suicide.

Beck was also captured in a photo from 2000 shared by the Daily Mirror, which was taken at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida; it shows Beck smiling standing in a circle with Epstein, Andrew, and now-First Lady Melania Trump (then Melania Knauss).

Beck reiterated the prince’s public denials of wrongdoing in Epstein’s company.

“Prince Andrew has a delightful personality and is a total gentleman,” she told ARLnow in a brief phone interview Tuesday morning. “I firmly agree with the statements he has made publicly.”

Beck was listed in Epstein’s “black book” under a “Massage — Florida” heading, as reported by The Smoking Gun in 2015. The book also contained the contact information for wealthy businessmen and underage victims who said they were forced to provide naked massages for Epstein and his friends.

Beck told the Smoking Gun at the time that she had received “a couple of massages” at Epstein’s home from a masseuse, but had never given any herself or spotted underage girls.

“I’m just sorry that I got dragged into all this,” Beck told ARLnow today of her association with Epstein, adding that she was “at a lack of words.”

In addition to being a VIP at his home and on his private jet, Beck was also the first candidate to accept political contributions from Epstein — as reported by ARLnow in 2015 — after he was forced to register as a sex offender in 2008 for soliciting sex from a minor.

Epstein donated a total of $12,600 to help Beck’s 2014 campaign. The money made up about half of her eventual warchest against incumbent Rep. Don Beyer who won the November general election that year with 63% of the vote compared to Beck’s 2.7% of the vote.

“I thought that Jeffrey was healed, I don’t know,” Beck told ARLnow today.

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(Updated at 2 p.m.) Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is assessing damage to two dozen different buildings on the base caused by last month’s disastrous flooding, per a spokesperson.

“The base is still assessing the damage sustained during the flooding and is working on a report to be forwarded to our higher headquarters at the Army’s Installation Management Command,” said JBMHH Spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba.

“There were a total of 26 facilities across our three bases of Fort Myer, Henderson Hall and Fort McNair that sustained water damage,” Rubalcaba told ARLnow in an email yesterday (Thursday.) “Military organizations do not have insurance, but are allotted an annual budget for operations and maintenance. Then, based on the final assessment and funding availability, additional funds will be forwarded to JBM-HH for repairs.”

She said the base has had to move events, like a recent job fair, into the basketball court because the community center is currently unusable.

“Somehow water got under the flooring and the floor buckled so nobody can walk on it,” she said.

Additionally, one bus from Marine Corps Base Quantico was parked in the lower lot by Henderson Hall — part of the headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps — when rain flooded the area, damaging the bus along with four cars and a forklift.

The Henderson Hall parking lot, dubbed the “lower flood lot,” is prone to flooding because of the landscape’s natural drainage. But in her 15 years of working on the base, Rubalcaba said she’s never seen flooding as high as during the storm on July 8.

“We know we’re going to get a little bit of rain there. But usually like an inch,” she said. “That’s why we don’t build anything there. People know that’s what happens and they stay away from it.” 

The unusually strong storm last month dumped 3-4 inches of water in an hour on Arlington. Roads, businesses and homes across the county were inundated with water and sewage with one stream swallowed whole by a broken pipe.

Countywide, the storm wrought an estimated $4 million in damages to publicly-owned property alone.

“We’re hoping to get some extra funding just to get everything repaired,” said Rubalcaba.

Courtesy photo

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A thief reportedly stole equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars from the famous Inner Ear Studio near Shirlington this morning.

The building’s landlord was the first to spot something was amiss: a car was parked by the rear door of the recording studio with the trunk open.

“He got pictures,” said Inner Ear owner Don Zientara, of the landlord’s eagle eye. “But they were stolen [license] plates.”

Several police officers could be seen on scene today just before 1 p.m., searching the studio. An officer photographed the remnants of a lock that had been punched through, leaving a gaping hole in the building’s front door.

“The stuff I can see just by looking totals around $10,000,” said Zientara, who described holes in the wall where some of his music recording equipment once stood.

He said he’s still working on assessing all the pieces of equipment that were stolen, but so far noticed a power supply, a pre-amplifier, and a Telefunken AR-51 tube condenser microphone are gone. Other, expensive items like computers had been left untouched, he noted.

“It was kind of indiscriminate,” said Zientara, who said his insurance will likely cover the losses.

Over the past three decades, he said thieves have never targeted his Shirlington studio — though a bass guitar once went missing many years ago.

Police responded to the call about the theft just after noon today, though the theft took place earlier in the morning, per scanner traffic.

Zientara founded Inner Ear Studio in the late 1970s, recording a long list of bands, including key members of the D.C. area’s punk scene.

Since then, the studio has continued to record independent artists. But it’s also attracted big names like the Foo Fighters, who recorded in the studio for their 2014 album Sonic Highways. An HBO documentary about the band and the album prominently featured Inner Ear.

Foo frontman Dave Grohl and bandmates previously recorded at Inner Ear before he went on to worldwide fame as a member of Nirvana.

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Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed budget is expected to include a relatively modest $5 million in cuts, but that includes the elimination of about 32 county government jobs.

The early word on the budget comes from an email sent to county staff yesterday by Schwartz and obtained by ARLnow. Schwartz is scheduled to formally present his budget proposal next Thursday, Feb. 21.

The size of the reductions is much smaller than initially feared. Schwartz initially warned that the county was facing a $20-35 million gap.

Schwartz said that the county will work with affected employees to help them find and apply for vacant county government positions.

The manager’s proposed budget is one of the first concrete steps in a months-long process that culminates with the County Board’s adoption of a final budget in April. Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, is facing its own budget challenges in the midst of continued enrollment growth and school construction.

The email from Schwartz is below.

February 13, 2019

To: All County Employees

As we get closer to submission of my proposed FY 2020 Budget to the County Board (a work session will be held February 21), I wanted to update you on the contents and timeline.

My proposed budget will include more than $5 million in proposed reductions – far less than the $20 to $35 million gap discussed last
Fall. My base budget includes elimination of about 32 positions – about 2/3 of which are currently filled. Affected employees will find out this week about the proposals.

In addition, the proposed budget will continue my commitment to the compensation maintenance plan for all general employees and the added commitments to Police, Fire and Sheriff staff included in the County Board adopted pay philosophy.

Next week I will provide you with more detailed information. Until then, those employees who might be affected by some of the proposed cuts are going through a difficult time. We are encouraging them to pursue vacant County positions and will do our best to match their skills with those vacancies. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is also a great resource and support for all County employees during this time.

These cuts involve difficult choices. The County Board does not adopt a final budget until April 2019, and I will continue to keep you
updated as we learn more. Again, thank you for your continued commitment and support for Arlington County. I am grateful each day for Arlington’s dedicated workforce.

Sincerely,

Mark J. Schwartz
County Manager

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All signs point to Crystal City being a landing spot for at least half of Amazon’s proposed HQ2 — well, all but perhaps one.

The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and now NPR are all reporting that Crystal City is likely to be announced as the future home of a major Amazon office campus. The announcement could come as soon as this week.

NPR had perhaps the most direct reporting about Crystal City’s imminent selection, writing:

Amazon is still in the final stages of negotiations, the sources say, but Crystal City, Va., is expected to pick up one-half of the deal, the people told NPR. Crystal City is a suburb of Washington, D.C.

New York City has been reported as a potential second location.

Thus far ARLnow has not, in our own reporting, heard any definitive word that Crystal City will be selected. As part of our reporting, however, we’ve been tracking a tip regarding a temporary event tent.

Over the weekend, according to the tipster, a company called Select Event Group starting constructing a platform for a large, temporary event space on a vacant JBG Smith-owned property along S. Eads Street, near an Amazon-owned Whole Foods store.

“My best guess is that JBG Smith is preparing for an event where they’ll be celebrating HQ2,” said the tipster, whose apartment overlooks the site.

JBG Smith is the preeminent property owner in Crystal City and has been gussying up the neighborhood to, according to the Washington Business Journal, impress visiting Amazon executives. The painted bicycles the company has placed around the area are on a fence in front of where the event space was been set up.

Whatever the event space was intended for, it appears that plans might have changed. Today an ARLnow reporter saw the materials for the tent being packed up, loaded onto two rental tractor trailers and driven out of the area. Workers wearing blue Select Event Group hoodies oversaw the work.

Asked about the half-built event space and whether it was HQ2-related, a PR rep for JBG Smith dismissed it as “regular construction activity.”

Reached by phone, a man named Alex, who identified himself as the president of Select Event Group but did not give his last name, declined to answer ARLnow’s questions.

“We don’t comment about any of our open contracts,” he said, before hanging up.

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The Arlington County Police Department is planning a “strategic restructuring” as a wave of retirements and departures leaves significant gaps in its staffing.

Services could be reduced as the department’s functional strength falls to a projected 50 officers below its authorized force of 370, according to an internal memo sent by police chief M. Jay Farr and obtained by ARLnow.com.

The Arlington Police Beneficiary Association, an employee organization representing Arlington officers that is advocating for higher police compensation in the county’s current budget process, said the “historic understaffing” is due to “sub-par pay.”

Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed budget includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for rank-and-file officers, on top of pay hikes for all county employees. The raise does not apply to the department’s command staff. The County Board voted over the weekend against a property tax rate increase, meaning that any additional money for the department beyond Schwartz’s recommendation will likely result in reductions elsewhere in the budget.

The police department is actively recruiting to try to fill staffing holes, but faces competition from other D.C. area local police departments as well as federal law enforcement agencies that often have higher levels of pay. Asked about the numbers, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the total staffing level at the department is a bit higher than the functional staffing level.

“The Arlington County Police Department has an authorized staffing of 370 officers and a current strength of 346 officers,” she told ARLnow.com. “Our current strength includes recruits currently at the academy as well as officers on light duty so our functional staffing is a little lower.”

A table showing retirements and non-retirement departures from the police department, as provided by a county spokeswoman, shows a sharp uptick in 2017.

In a statement, Savage said the planned restructuring will “maximize our available resources.”

Our goals and objectives as a department have not changed, nor has our commitment to providing professional law enforcement services to the residents, visitors and businesses of Arlington County. However, our methods of achieving these goals must adapt to our current staffing challenges. To maximize our available resources, we will be completing a strategic restructuring of the police department. This will be accomplished by our command staff collaborating with the entirety of the police department and devising a staffing plan jointly. Our staffing and structure will focus on prioritizing core services and ensuring the services we are able to provide are effective and efficient. The ultimate goal is to design a police department reflective of our current staffing levels, limit the workload strain on officers by focusing on core services and promote a balanced work/life atmosphere. Our plan will also be forward looking to support growth as staffing improves. It is anticipated that the restructuring will be complete by late spring and additional information will be available at that time.

“Great work happens throughout this agency on a daily basis and this I am confident this will continue despite our current staffing challenges,” Chief Farr said in a statement issued to ARLnow.com. “The strategic restructure will provide us with an opportunity to maximize our resources by building a police department reflective of our current staffing levels while supporting our mission to reduce the incidence of crime and improve the quality of life in Arlington County.”

In the memo, below, Farr says the police department will be reevaluating its ability to provide support for special events in the county as part of the restructuring process.

The Arlington County Fire Department, meanwhile, is facing similar pressures. Fire department personnel are slated to receive an extra 4 percent bump in pay over the standard county employee raise in Schwartz’s budget, but the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association says even that might not be enough to fill gaps in staffing.

The full memo about restructuring from Chief Farr, after the jump.

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