Apple Blossom 2015

Apple Blossom LooThe streets of Old Town Winchester will soon fill with hundreds of thousands of people coming together to celebrate the 88th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. The Festival kicks off Friday, April 24, with the Bloomin’ Wine Fest and the festivities continue through Sunday, May 3. The Winchester Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety and security of local residents and festival goers. There will be a strong police presence at events throughout the week. The public is asked to assist in ensuring everyone’s safety by doing the following:

  • Staying aware of your surroundings
  • Reporting any suspicious activity immediately to law enforcement
  • Keeping your belongings with you at all times

The Apple Blossom Festival continues to keep safety a priority and will have bag checks at the entrances into a number of events. We strongly recommend that guests do not bring bags, backpacks, handbags, and purses to events unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. If an item is left unattended it is subject to search and disposal. Diaper bags that have necessary items for small children are acceptable; however they will be subject to searches. The following items will be prohibited at the Bloomin’ Wine Fest, Weekend in the Park, all tent events, and the Coronation:

  • Backpacks/large bags 14 X 9
  • Alcohol
  • Weapons, knives of any kind
  • Any items that could be used or construed to be a weapon
  • Illegal drugs
  • Bottles, cans, thermoses, coolers
  • Animals (except for service)
  • Aerosol/spray cans
  • Food, snack, beverages
  • Noisemakers
  • Exception: diaper bags

Detour Route

The detour route goes into effect on Friday, May 1 at 3:30 p.m. and will remain in effect until the end of the Firefighter’s Parade around 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday, May 2 the route goes into effect at 8 a.m. until the end of the Grand Feature Parade around 7 p.m.

We strongly encourage anyone who is not attending a festival event to utilize alternate routes:

Interstate 81 and Routes 37, 50, 7, and 522. Drivers in the City of Winchester should expect heavy congestion and delays. We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation with traffic changes.

Parking Restrictions and Detour Routes:  Parking Restrictions and Detour Routes

Detour Route Map: 2015 Detour Route Map

Weekend in the Park Map:  2015 WIP Map

Police Department Safety Tips:  2015 PD Safety Tips for the SABF

Fire Department Safety Tips:  2015 Apple Blossom FD Safety Tips

Parking Restrictions

No parking signs will be posted on Thursday, April 30. The parking restrictions go into effect and are strictly enforced beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 1 and continuing until 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. There are no exceptions to these restrictions, even for residents. We will attempt to locate the owner of a vehicle that is not following parking restrictions to avoid towing. If we are unable to locate the owner, the vehicle will be ticketed and towed. If your vehicle has been towed, you will need to contact the Winchester Police Department’s non-emergency number at 540-662-4131 to find out where to pick up your vehicle. Various towing companies will be utilized to assist in the enforcement.

Parking for downtown events will be available in all four Autoparks to include Braddock Street, Court Square, George Washington, and Loudoun Street.

Handicapped parking is available at each Apple Blossom sponsored event. We recommend that residents utilize downtown parking garages for the Grand Feature Parade.

Handicapped parking for Weekend in the Park will be available in front of the War Memorial Building.

Animals/Pets

Animals are prohibited in festival areas during specified events. Please refer to Section 5-15 of the Winchester City Code.

Children

Each year children are separated from their parents during the festival. Parents and guardians are asked to take a picture of their children with their cell phone and to also know what their children are wearing to assist in locating them if they become lost. Inform your children that if they become lost to go to a uniformed police officer for help. If you need to report a lost child, call the Winchester Police Department’s non-emergency number at 540-662-4131.

Alcoholic Beverages

Persons attending any festival event on public streets or grounds are prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages or being in possession of an open container. Consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons 21 years and older is allowed at some festival events within approved areas and restaurants where state licenses have been obtained. Officers will be actively enforcing laws pertaining to open containers and drunk in public. If you plan to drink, remember to drink responsibly and designate a sober driver before you leave home.

Public Works

The Public Works team deploys more than 265 barricades and 200 cones throughout the city to be used for traffic and crowd control. The team puts together 2,000 trash boxes that will be used at the festival. In 2014 the festival generated about 39 tons of trash on Friday and Saturday with the Wine Fest generating 2.5 tons of trash. The trash is picked up after each parade and it is collected Saturday morning following the fireworks held on Friday. There will be recycling containers at some of the events; however, residents are encouraged to take items home that can be recycled. Residents whose regular trash pickup is on Fridays should place trashcans by the curb Thursday night. The trash will be picked up early Friday morning.

Additional Resources

AB AppThe Winchester Police Department will be utilizing the Apple Blossom Festival’s New Smartphone App to keep local residents and festival attendees informed about emergency situations including traffic hazards and areas to avoid. Those who sign up will be notified through push notifications. We encourage the public to download the Apple Blossom Festival App today!

If anyone has questions regarding street closures, parking, and detour routes, the Winchester Volunteers in Policing will be available by phone Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon to answer questions. The numbers are 540-545-4737 and 540-545-4738. We strongly encourage the use of these numbers over the non-emergency telephone number due to the number of calls received by our Emergency Communications Center. Please refrain from using 911 unless you have an emergency.

Agency Assistance

The Winchester Police Department’s entire force will be providing security for the festival and will be assisted by a number of agencies. We would like to thank the Virginia Defense Force, the Winchester City Sheriff’s Office, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center, Mount Weather Police, the FBI, Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Forces, Winchester Emergency Communications Center, Emergency Management Coordinator Lynn Miller, and civilian employees with the Winchester Police Department.

We wish everyone a safe and happy Bloom!

Surveillance Pictures Capture Shoplifting Suspect

The Winchester Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in a shoplifting incident. On March 29th around 7 p.m., officers responded to Walmart located in the 2000 block of South Pleasant Valley Road for a reported shoplifting in progress. Officers were informed that a white male had pushed a cart full of items out of the store without paying for them. The male left the parking lot in a black truck and was last seen heading southbound on Pleasant Valley Road.Shoplifting Suspect

Anyone with information on the suspect or suspect’s vehicle in this case is asked call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS. Individuals who are able to provide information that leads to an arrest in the case could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Shoplifting Suspect Vehicle

Substance Abuse Coalition Warns of Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition, formally the Addiction Action Committee, is warning the community of the dangers of using synthetic drugs after cases of overdoses are reported in our region. On Friday, Virginia State Police reported two overdoses in Shenandoah County from “Spice.” The synthetic drugs used in these overdoses are linked to 15 overdoses in Hagerstown in which victims overdosed on “Strawberry Xtreme Aroma Therapy.” Additionally, at least 12 people in the Harrisonburg area have been hospitalized after using the same drug.Strawberry Xtreme Aroma Therapy2

Synthetic drugs are manufactured by adding chemicals intended to mimic the effects of marijuana. Often it is not known what chemicals have been used to make up the drug because the recipes vary. Using synthetic drugs like “Spice” or “K2” can not only be dangerous, it can be deadly. The health risks associated with using synthetic drugs can include confusion, drowsiness, headaches, increased heart rate, seizures, nausea/vomiting, severe paranoia, and loss of consciousness.

At the beginning of April, Winchester Police responded to a call on Fremont Street involving a 15-year-old male who was found lying on the sidewalk unconscious after using “Spice.” This case remains under investigation.

With the knowledge of the symptoms and dangers of synthetic drug use, community members can protect themselves and their families. Anyone with information on synthetic drug use or sales is asked to contact police in an effort to save lives.

Residents Reminded to Not Leave Valuables in Car

Leave It and Lose It updatedPolice Investigate Reports of Smash-and-Grabs

Winchester Police are reminding local residents to not leave valuables in plain sight inside their car, after reports of smash-and-grabs. Six victims have reported having their wallet or purses taken from their vehicles. All of the vehicles were parked in public parking lots and many were in the area of Jim Barnett Park. The incidents occurred on the following days and in these locations:

  • April 12th – 1000 block of East Cork Street between 12:40 and 3 p.m. Passenger’s side front window was smashed and a purse that was sitting on the passenger seat was taken.
  • April 12th – Parking Lot of Student Athletic Center between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Passenger’s side front window was smashed and a purse that was sitting on the passenger seat was taken.
  • April 12th – 700 block of University Drive between 1 and 3:30 p.m. Passenger’s side rear window was smashed and a purse on the floor behind the front passenger seat was taken.
  • April 12th – Lowery Drive and University Drive between 2:10 and 2:30 p.m. Driver side front window was left down. Purse was taken.
  • April 12th – 1000 block of East Cork Street between 12:30 and 6 p.m. Sunroof was left open and windows were left open a bit. A wallet was taken.
  • April 13th – First block of Weems Lane between 4:45 and 9:30 p.m. Passenger side window was broken out and wallet on passenger seat was taken.

These are crimes of opportunity in which residents are leaving tempting items in their car, in view of passersby. Residents can discourage such incidents by taking their purse and wallet out of the car, not leaving belongings visible inside the car, locking car doors and rolling up windows, and staying aware of their surroundings and reporting any suspicious activity to police.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS. Individuals who are able to provide information that leads to an arrest in these cases could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

ECC Specialist of the Year

Emergency Communications Specialist II Michael Sale

Emergency Communications Specialist II Michael Sale

Winchester Emergency Communications Specialist Michael Sale was presented Monday evening with the Dispatcher of the Year Award. Sale has been with the department for five years. He comes to work with a positive attitude and his personality is contagious. Sale comes in on his days off when his co-workers are out sick and he willingly signs up to work additional hours. Congratulations to Michael Sale!

This week we celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. It’s when we honor the men and women who are our public safety communications professionals who work behind the scenes to help us during emergencies. During an awards ceremony and dinner Monday evening Director of Emergency Communications Erin Elrod shared a quote, “between the thin red line and the thin blue line lies the thinnest gold line. This gold line represents those who rarely are seen but mostly heard. The calm voice in the dark night. Dispatchers – the golden glue that holds it all together.” Elrod recognized the years of service in the Emergency Communications System and noted that with the high turnover rate in Communications, it is important to point out the dedication of these staff members.

We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated Emergency Communications Center Specialists in the City of Winchester Emergency Communication Center. It takes an incredible amount of patience and professionalism for these individuals to calmly dispatch officers or emergency service personnel, all while communicating with an irate or hysterical caller on the phone. Join us in thanking them for their service.

Police and Fire Honor Guards Recognize Community Donors

Pictured from left to right: Lt. Mark Lahman, Sgt. Wayne Monse, Cpl. Glenn Macher, Master Patrol Officer Paul McFarland, Sgt. Frank Mytle, Lt. Gerald Bohus, Officer Trey Rounds, and Commander Stephanie Arnold.

Pictured from left to right: Lt. Mark Lahman, Sgt. Wayne Monse, Cpl. Glenn Macher, Master Patrol Officer Paul McFarland, Sgt. Frank Mytle, Lt. Gerald Bohus, Officer Trey Rounds, and Commander Stephanie Arnold.

The Winchester Police and Fire and Rescue Honor Guards recognized community donors during a press conference held Tuesday morning. The groups displayed their new equipment they purchased from donations made by businesses in the community. The donations made it possible for the Winchester Police Department’s Honor Guard to add two new members, Sgt. Frank Myrtle and Master Patrol Officer Paul McFarland. The Winchester Fire and Rescue Department added the following four new members to its team: Firefighter and EMT Jeff Hartman, Firefighter and EMT Ryan Steele, Firefighter and EMT Jeremy Greenbacker, and Firefighter Technician David Kushnir. The Honor Guards were able to purchase uniforms, new flags, flag poles, flag pole holders, flag pole toppers, tassels, and gloves.

The Winchester Police Department Honor Guard received donations from:

  • Woodmen of the World
  • Jones Funeral Home
  • Miller Honda
  • Jim Stutzman Chevrolet-Cadillac
  • Malloy Ford
  • Omps Funeral Home
  • Winchester/Frederick County Law Enforcement Foundation

The Winchester Fire and Rescue Department Honor Guard Received donations from:

  • Jones Funeral Home
  • Woodmen of the World
  • Other private donations received through the Red Basket Website

The honor guards are available for high profile special events, such as ceremonial events, funerals for an officer who is killed in the line of duty, memorial services, parades, and more.

 

Detectives Investigate Bank Robbery

Bank Robbery1The Winchester Police Department is investigating an armed bank robbery that happened at BB&T at 2082 South Pleasant Valley Road. Around 11 a.m. a white male entered the bank, displayed a gun, and demanded money. The suspect is described as being in his late 40s to early 50s, wearing a black V-neck t-shirt, blue jeans, a green jacket, a black ski mask, and an orange glove on his left hand. It appears from surveillance pictures that the male has a beard. The male left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was last seen heading south in the parking lot on foot.

A Winchester Police Department K-9 Unit responded to the scene and attempted to track the suspect, but was unable to locate him.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS.  Individuals who are able to provide information that leads to an arrest in this case could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Bank Robbery2 3-19

Police Increase Patrols for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

The Winchester Police Department is stepping up patrols for St. Patrick’s Day and the weekend ahead. There will be extra patrols on City streets Tuesday evening and officers will be targeting drunk drivers. The extra patrols are part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign. Drivers are reminded to plan ahead before heading out to celebrate the holiday by designating a sober driver before leaving home. We also recommend that you know the phone numbers of local taxi companies so you can call them if you are in need of a ride.Clover

If you suspect a driver is impaired call the non-emergency police telephone number at 540-662-4131. Callers should be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, license plate number, location, and the car’s direction of travel.

Also remember that if you know someone who is about to drive or ride with someone who is under the influence to help them make other arrangements to ensure their safety.

Everyone is reminded to drink responsibly and have a safe holiday weekend.

Community Response Team Receives Hero Award

Members of the Community Response Team Receive the William D. Barton Hero Award

Members of the Community Response Team Receive the William D. Barton Hero Award

Congratulations to the Community Response Team on receiving the William D. Barton Hero Award Tuesday morning during the Employee Recognition Breakfast. The CRT was recognized for its public service to the community. The team tackles special projects in the City and works to make Winchester a better and safer place to live, work, and visit. Join us in thanking them for their service!

 

 

Robin Shillingburg is recognized for her 15 years of service.

Robin Shillingburg is recognized for her 15 years of service.

Robin Shillingburg was recognized for her 15 years of services with the Winchester Police Department. She has worked in our Records Department her entire career and is currently a Community Resource Officer. Thank you Robin for your dedication and service!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janet Pope is recognized for her 35 years of service.

Janet Pope is recognized for her 35 years of service.

Janet Pope was recognized for her remarkable 35 years of service with the Winchester Police Department. Janet handles the warrants for our department and stays busy delivering paperwork to the courthouse each day. What an incredible example of dedication!

Community Information Sessions Bring Awareness to Substance Abuse

The severity of heroin addiction in the Northern Shenandoah Valley continues to be apparent with eight overdose deaths between January 1 and March 11, 2015. The Addiction Action Committee (AAC), a coalition of law enforcement, health, criminal justice, and social service experts, is calling on the larger community to learn more about the complex problem of opioid and heroin addiction.

Community Forum on HeroinThe AAC is sponsoring two free programs to address this community health issue. The Community Forum on Heroin will be held March 31st at 7 p.m. in Stimpson Auditorium at Shenandoah University. Attendees will hear from a local father about his long struggle with addiction, how he overcame the disease and turned his life around. A panel of speakers will address the scope of heroin addiction in our community and solutions being explored by the AAC. Lastly, Lt. Wally Stotlemyer from the North West VA Regional Drug Task Force will describe what law enforcement is doing to combat the problem and explain the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and what to watch for.

A second community event titled Your Kids Know More Than You Do: Straight Talk for Parents About Teen Drug Use will be held on Tuesday, April 14th at 7 p.m. in the Patsy Cline Auditorium at Handley High School. Will Rushton, M.D. is an emergency physician at UVA Medical Center who specializes in medical and clinical toxicology. Dr. Rushton will share information on current trends of recreational drug abuse and what parents need to be aware of. This presentation is for adults only.

The Addiction Action Committee is working to educate the community about the far-reaching impacts of substance abuse and the importance of tacking the problem openly, as a community. The AAC encourages the public to attend both of these events.

For more information on the AAC and Addiction Resources in the Northern Shenandoah Valley visit www.roadtorecovery.info.

These events are being sponsored by Casey Family Programs.