The Winchester Police Department is committed to hearing feedback from our community – both good and bad. We’ve surveyed residents and created this document to address some of the frequently asked questions you might have about the Department. You can download a copy here. For answers to additional questions you might have, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on our website.
On Thursday, December 1, 2016, two police recruits became officers when they graduated from the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy’s Basic Academy.
A total of 20 people from five location departments graduated from the 141st Law Enforcement Basic class. The Winchester Police Department had two graduates, Connor Molloy and Mark Fischer.
The 19-week academy included everything from community policing to use of force training. Winchester Police Sgt. Adam Orndorff was chosen by the class to be the guest speaker. He stressed to the new officers the importance of being courageous and leading my example.
The officers completed multiple written and skills tests during the academy. Officer Fischer received 2nd place for academics, which included testing on courses such as constitutional law, drug identification, and crime prevention. His scores placed him 3rd overall in the class with a combination of academic and skills testing, which included topics such as firearms, driving, and defensive tactics.
Officers Fischer and Molloy will start a 12-week Field Training this weekend.
The Winchester Police Department celebrated its 20th Citizen’s Police Academy Tuesday night, when 24 citizens graduated from the program. The academy provides local citizens with an inside look at law enforcement operations in the city.
“It was eye opening to see what is happening in the Department and how police work with the community,” said Angela Hansen.
The 10-week program included 13 sessions on topics like criminal investigations, 911 communications, officer safety and court procedures, among others. Participants had demonstrations from the K-9 unit, Animal Control, SWAT Team, firearms safety, and a tour of the jail.
Graduates of this year’s academy included nonprofit leaders, business owners, retirees, and a Winchester city council member. The purpose is to educate citizens and develop positive relations between police and the community.
“With all the recent images and stories in the news, I have to admit, I was starting to question police officers,” said Sue Lessman. “But interfacing with the officers and seeing the human side of the badge went a long way in dispelling my fears,” she said.
This year’s class also included several aspiring law enforcement officers, including a high school student.
“This is definitely worth the investment in time,” said Jet Dayo. The Winchester resident said he wanted to learn the ins and outs of the police department so he can better communicate and educate his children about policing.
The fall academy ran September 20 – November 22, 2016. Graduates are eligible to apply to become a member of the Volunteers in Policing Program. The VIP’s assist the Police Department with special activities and community events, including fingerprinting children, crime prevention, security, handicap parking enforcement, and directing traffic.
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2017 Citizen’s Police Academy. The class is free, but space is limited, and you don’t need to be a city resident to attend. An application can be found at the police department’s website: http://winchesterpolice.org/citizen-police-academy. For more information, contact Detective William Griffith at (540) 545-7591 or William.email@example.com.
The Holiday Shopping season is starting even earlier this year, and Winchester Police want safety to be the number one priority. The Police Department will have extra patrols in place on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday. Shoppers are reminded to immediately report any suspicious activity, by calling the non-emergency number at (540) 662-4131.
Black Friday means bargains, but it can also bring out thieves and pickpockets who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. As you make your holiday shopping list, make sure to include the following safety tips:
- Park in well-lit areas of store parking lots.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Lock your car doors.
- Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting inside.
- Shop with a friend or family member, if possible.
- Place shopping bags in your trunk and DO NOT leave them visible in your car.
- Leave your purse at home, or make sure to carry it close to your body or under your jacket. Carry your ID and credit cards in a front pocket. Do NOT leave your purse in your car.
Police also want to remind drivers to be extra cautious when driving through parking lots. Please drive slowly and look out for people who are walking to and from stores.
Happy shopping from your friends at the Winchester Police Department!
The holiday season officially kicks off in Winchester on Monday, November 28th, with the annual Old Town Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting. A number of street closures will be in place to allow the bands, floats, and of course Santa Claus, to make their way through the city. The following streets will be shut down at 6:00 p.m. and will reopen immediately following the parade:
- Cameron Street from Fairfax Lane to Monmouth Street
- Piccadilly Street from Cameron Street to Braddock Street
- Braddock Street from Piccadilly Street to Cork Street
- Cork Street from Braddock Street to Kent Street
- Boscawen Street from Braddock Street to Kent Street
- Indian Alley from Piccadilly Street to Cork Street
Traffic will be diverted one block from each of the closures. Parking restrictions go into effect at 4:00 p.m. in areas marked with “No Parking” signs.
The parade begins at 7:00 p.m. The parade route is from Cameron Street to Piccadilly, to a left on Braddock Street, to a left on Cork Street, and will finish at Loudoun Street. The Tree Lighting ceremony will be held on the Loudoun Street Walking Mall in front of the Old Court House Civil War Museum at approximately 8:00 p.m.
Parking is available for $5 at any of the four downtown Autoparks:
- George Washington Autopark – Use Kent Street entrance/exit only
- Court Square Autopark (on Cameron St). – Use Kent Street entrance/exit only
- Braddock Street Autopark – No exit allowed until parade in finished
- Loudoun Autopark – No access restrictions
We wish everyone a safe holiday season!
The Winchester Police Department is investigating a pedestrian-involved accident that killed a Winchester woman. The accident happened around 2:47 p.m. on Thursday, November 17th along the 3100 block of Valley Avenue. Investigators said the driver of a 2002 Honda Civic was leaving Rubbermaid and making a left turn onto Valley Avenue when she struck the victim.
An investigation found the pedestrian was crossing the west side of Valley Ave. to the east side, in a designated crosswalk. The driver, Kelsey Cadwell, 23, of Martinsburg, Va. had a green light and reported not seeing the victim in the crosswalk. The victim, Virginia Thompson, 83, was taken to Winchester Medical Center where she later died. The Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.
At the time of the accident, Cadwell was cited for reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. After the victim passed away, officers contacted the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and additional charges may be pending.
The Winchester Police Department is investigating a vehicle accident involving a Shawnee Volunteer Fire Company apparatus. City of Winchester Fire and Rescue personnel were responding to a medical call when they collided with a Honda CRV at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Berryville Avenue around 1:30 p.m. this afternoon. The fire apparatus was travelling North on Pleasant Valley when it slowly proceeded through the intersection with lights flashing and sirens on.
The driver of the CRV, who was traveling westbound on Berryville Avenue, is an 84-year-old man from Stephens City. He was taken to the hospital and his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Initial reports state that none of the Fire and Rescue personnel inside the apparatus were injured. The accident remains under investigation.
The Winchester Police Department would like to remind drivers that Virginia Law requires drivers to move to the nearest edge of the roadway when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and sirens. Virginia Code 46.2-829 says drivers should move as quickly as traffic conditions permit and remain there, unless otherwise directed by a law-enforcement officer, until the emergency vehicle has passed. If an emergency vehicle approaches while you are at an intersection, it is best to stay stationary or move to the right side of the road to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Police also recommend drivers remain alert and expect to see more than one emergency vehicle.
The Winchester Police Department and the Winchester NAACP are hosting the second in a series of community discussions to improve race relations. The event will be held Saturday, November 18th from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. at The Life Church, located at 199 Agape Way in Stephens City.
Both groups partnered to hold the first in a series of events in August at Shenandoah University. A constant theme among participants was continued interaction and positive dialogue between police and the community.
This weekend’s forum will include an interactive presentation on “The Law and Your Community,” led by Sgt. Easton McDonald with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. It will also include smaller breakout sessions, and a question and answer period. A portion of the program will be dedicated to brainstorming additional ways the community and police can work together.
“We want to do all we can to regain understanding and trust among our residents,” said Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher. “An open dialogue is part of building trust,” he said.
Police Department representatives meet with NAACP leaders and community members on a monthly basis to discuss ways to improve police-community relations.
“The police department can’t do it alone. The community needs to participate in these discussions, provide input, and solutions,” said Gwen Walker, Winchester NAACP President.
On Saturday, November 12, 2016, 14 local students graduated from the Winchester Police Department’s inaugural Teen Citizen’s Academy. The class provided students with an inside look at local law enforcement operations and challenges. Students were represented from local high schools, including Handley, James Wood and Sherando.
One of the goals of the Teen Citizen’s Academy is to develop positive relations between the police and youth through education. It also allows teens to explore a possible career in law enforcement.
“It was awesome to meet the officers and get an inside look at what’s going on,” said Anastasia Phillips. The Sherando High School 10th grader wants to be study criminal justice in college and become a police officer. She said her favorite part of the class was learning how officers train police dogs, and hearing how local departments are working together to combat heroin overdoses.
“They are like superheroes, but on the street. Their life is on the line every day,” Phillips said. “I want to help keep the streets safe and be a positive influence to improve police relations,” she said.
The class, held from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., was the first class specific for teenagers. It’s a spin-off of the Police Citizen’s Academy, which is currently in its 20th year. Activities included a tour of the Police Department, the 911 Dispatch Center, and the Timbrook Youth Reporting Center. Topics included gang activity, drugs, a K-9 demonstration, animal control, the juvenile court system and crime scene processing.
Graduates were invited to apply for the new Junior Volunteers in Policing Program where members will assist the VIP’s with special events in the community. Students must be 16 years old to apply. The Department plans to hold another Teen Citizen’s Academy in the spring of 2017.
This week, the Winchester Police Department kicked of the 17th Annual Ricky Timbrook Food and Toy Drive to support local families in need. The Department is collecting toys and non-perishable food items through December 8th. This year, they are increasing sponsorships and hope to provide 40 families in the city with gifts and meals during the holidays.
The Food and Toy Drive was started in 1999. It was named after Sergeant Ricky Timbrook, who was killed in the line of duty, earlier that year. Timbrook had a passion for the serving the community and helping children and families in need.
“Sergeant Timbrook had an incredibly giving spirit, so it’s an honor for us to carry on his legacy through outreach events like this,” said Major Kelly Rice”, who helps assist the Timbrook family with organizing the campaign each year. “Because of generous support from the community, we are able to yet again bless local families.”
The Department of Social Services and a local non-profit organization provides the list of families who will benefit from the annual drive. Winchester Police Department employees and their families will deliver the gifts on December 10th.
Non-perishable Food Items and toys for children under 18 can be dropped off at the Timbrook Public Safety Center, located at 231 E. Piccadilly Street.
Monetary donations will also be accepted. Those wishing to make a monetary donation can make checks payable to the Ricky Timbrook Memorial Foundation. Checks can be dropped off or mailed to the Winchester Police Department.
Collection boxes have been placed at other locations throughout Winchester, including:
- War Memorial Building in Jim Barnett Park
- Joint Judicial Center, North Kent Street
- Rouss City Hall, North Cameron Street
- Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Coverstone Drive
The Winchester Police Department would like to thank the public for their generosity and support to help neighbors in need this holiday season!