Local Law Enforcement Agencies Acquire Special-Use Vehicles

The Winchester Police Department has recently acquired two specialty vehicles to assist with handling non-conventional incidents. The rapid deployment vehicle replaces a vehicle that has been in service for a number of years. It is used by the SWAT Team in tactical situations to transport team members and their equipment to a scene. In addition, the Winchester Police Department and Frederick County Sheriff’s Office have each acquired an armored vehicle joining hundreds of other agencies across the nation. The Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected “MRAPs” were acquired in May through the military surplus program. The vehicle will be used by the Winchester Police Department as a rescue vehicle to evacuate a citizen, hostage, or officer who is injured or down in what is considered a “hot zone”.

The MRAP which is valued at $733,000 came at no cost to the agencies, outside of a delivery fee.

Vehicle2 Vehicle1

Be By the Book on Back-to-School Safety

As students head back to school next week in Winchester, we want drivers to be By the Book when it comes to safety. The first day of school for students in the city is Monday, August 11th. There will be an increased presence of officers at schools during the first week in an effort to ensure safety.school bus

Drivers

The Winchester Police Department is asking drivers to use extra caution on area roadways by:

  • Adding extra time to their morning and evening commutes to accommodate extra traffic.
  • Following speed limits.
  • Paying close attention to school bus warning lights
  • Being extra vigilant of students who are walking and riding a bike to school.

More than 23 million students nationwide ride the bus to and from school. Motorists are reminded that when a school bus is displaying flashing red lights, those traveling in both directions must stop, except on divided highways. Violators will be charged with reckless driving, a class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable with up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Children are our most vital assets and the inconvenience of taking a few extra seconds to stop for a school bus is insignificant compared to jeopardizing a child’s life.

Parents

Parents are asked to supervise their children at bus stops and encourage safety when loading and unloading on a school bus. Motorists who are transporting children to and from school are reminded to ensure they are safely restrained in seat belts, booster seats, and child restraint devices.

We wish all local students, teachers, and school staff a safe and happy first day of school.

Winchester Police Department Hosts Two Presentations

The Winchester Police Department will be holding an Active Shooter Presentation for members of the community on September 16th from 7 – 9 p.m.  Captain Doug Watson will discuss how the public can prepare for and respond to this type of event.

Active Shooter, How do I respond?

Active Shooter, How do I respond?

In addition, the Winchester Police Department and Shenandoah University are hosting Lt. Col. Dave Grossman on October 23rd.  Lt. Col. Grossman will discuss terrorism at schools, critical incident stress, and ”bulletproofing the mind.”

Grossman Flyer

 

Please Respect the Privacy of the “Woman in Black”

The Winchester Police Department is asking for the public to respect the privacy of the person who has been dubbed the “Woman in Black.” Around 9 p.m. Tuesday, officers were called to the 2400 block of Valley Avenue for crowd control. About 50 people gathered near a bank in this area to see the “Woman in Black.” For her safety and the safety of others, officers took her to an undisclosed location and provided her with food and shelter. Officers spoke with the woman who says she is from Winchester and intends on staying in the area. The Winchester Police Department wants local residents to know that she will be part of the community and to respect her privacy if you see her in the area. She has expressed to officers that she wants to be left alone and is asking that the public respect her wishes.

2014 National Night Out Brings Community Together in One Location

Residents in the City of Winchester are invited to the 31st Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, from 6 – 9 p.m. The Winchester Police Department is excited to host the event this year on the Loudoun Street Mall in front of the Old Courthouse Museum. The event will include bluegrass band Five of a Kind, activities for kids, a meet and greet with Winchester Police K-9 Officer Kota, free hotdogs, chips, sodas, and appearances by McGruff and Red E. Fox. National Night Out is a great way to connect with your neighbors and promote neighborhood and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer city.

NNO LOGONational Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back.

From 6 to 9 p.m. residents in neighborhoods throughout Winchester and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with their neighbors and police.

In all, more than 37.8 million people are expected to participate in “America’s Night Out Against Crime.” We hope you will be one of them!

Residents are encouraged to bring folding chairs with them to the event. Metered parking in the downtown area is free after 6 p.m. (Monday – Friday).

 

Lock Your Car Doors to Prevent Larcenies

Lock DoorsIn a 12 hour time period between Saturday, July 19th and Sunday, July 20th 21 unlocked cars in the City of Winchester were rummaged through, and that’s just the number that were reported. The most recent rash of larcenies occurred on Harvest Drive, Cidermill Lane, Melvor Lane, Wayne Drive, Clayton Ridge Drive, Stoneleigh Drive, and Summerfield Lane. The Winchester Police Department wants residents to make it a habit of locking their car doors. Since June 1, 2014 the police department has received 48 reports of larcenies from motor vehicles. In most cases the thieves are looking for money including loose change, electronics, cell phones, navigation systems, wallets, and purses.

 

To deter thieves from targeting your car, residents are reminded to protect their valuables by doing the following:

  • Lock car doors and close all windows when you leave your car
  • When parking at home use your garage, if you have one, and lock your car inside your garage
  • If you don’t have a garage, try to park in a well-lit area
  • Don’t leave anything of value inside your car, even if your car is locked

If you are a victim of this crime, even if valuables aren’t taken, it is important that you report the incident to police at 540-662-4131. This information helps our detectives track trends and patterns throughout the City.

If anyone has information on possible suspects in these cases please contact the Crime Solvers Hotline at 540-665-TIPS.

Deadline Approaching for Valor Awards Nominations

Don’t miss out on the chance to nominate someone you know for the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber’s Valor Awards. This year’s awards will be for acts of valor that occurred between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. The 2014 Valor Awards Ceremony will take place on October 23rd at the Best Western Lee-Jackson Conference Center.

The award categories are:

  • Citizen Award
  • Unit Citation
  • Lifesaving Medal
  • Meritorious Action Award
  • Certificate of Valor
  • Bronze Medal of Valor
  • Silver Medal of Valor
  • Gold Medal of Valor

A ninth award category has just been added for those who have made an outstanding contribution to public safety. The nomination committee will consider those who have gone above and beyond to help the community.

The deadline for nominations is July 30, 2014. Nomination forms can be found at www.winchesterpolice.org under “Forms and Reports” or on the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber’s website at http://www.regionalchamber.biz/.Valor Award Logo Blue

WPD Forms First Honor Guard

Lt. Mark Lahman presents the American Flag to the family of a fallen officer during a mock funeral held at a seminar in Fairfax County.

Lt. Mark Lahman presents the American Flag
to the family of a fallen officer during a mock
funeral held at a seminar in Fairfax County.

Thanks to the support of community service organizations the Winchester Police Department has formed its first-ever honor guard. Donations from the Exchange Club of Winchester, Kiwanis Club, and the Winchester/Frederick County Law Enforcement Foundation were used to fully outfit four officers in honor guard uniforms. Lt. Mark Lahman, Sergeant Wayne Monse, Corporal Glenn Macher, and Officer Trey Rounds are the four honor guard members. Three of the officers attended a three-day honor guard seminar in June hosted by Fairfax County. During the training the officers got a firsthand look at one of the most important duties they may have to perform; the funeral for a fallen officer.

The Winchester Police Department’s Honor Guard will be 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.

K-9 Kota Named Finalist in 2014 Hero Dog Awards

K-9 Officer Kota

K-9 Officer Kota

K-9 Officer Kota has been named the 2014 Law Enforcement dog winner for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. Kota is now one of eight finalists vying for the title of top American Hero Dog of 2014. “I felt very touched by the loyalty of all his fans,” says Corporal Brittney Neer. “They’ve fallen in love with him and made sure to vote for him daily so he could be recognized as a hero for his sacrifice and loyalty.”

The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards is an annual competition. Eight finalists are chosen by the public and a celebrity judging panel from eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Arson Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide & Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dog. The eight finalists win $1,500 for a selected charity partner. The public has the chance to vote for the top dog until September 15th at www.herodogawards.org. Kota and his partner will attend the Hero Dog Awards on September 27th in Beverly Hills, CA and a production team will be coming to Winchester to film a tribute video that will be shown at the gala.

On Friday, January 3, 2014, Kota was injured when he was assisting officers with a breaking and entering on Franklin Street. Two suspects were hiding in a crawl space and as Kota was apprehending one of them, he fell through the ceiling nearly 8 feet, to the first floor of the house. The fall caused Kota to break his leg. Even after his injury, Kota showed his dedication to his handler Corporal Brittney Neer, by returning to her side on the second floor of the house. Kota underwent an extensive surgery to treat his broken leg and he continues to go through rehab. Veterinarians are optimistic that Kota will return to duty in the coming months to do narcotics work.

Taking Control of Your End-of-Life Care

TRIAD LOGO2The Winchester/Frederick County S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Council wants local residents to be prepared with the legal documents they need to speak for them, when they are not able to speak for themselves.  Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age and it’s important for adults to have the necessary documents to ensure their wishes are met.  The local S.A.L.T. Council will hold a three part series to educate area seniors and their caregivers on the following topics:

  • Advanced Medical Directives, August 5, 2014
  • Powers of Attorney, September 2, 2014
  • Living Wills, September 30, 2014

Each part of the series will take place on the above mentioned dates at Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury from 9 – 11 a.m.  Registration is required and there is limited seating.

To register please contact Jennifer Benavente at (540) 327-4284 or jennifer@whiteproperties.net.  The deadline to register is July 28, 2014.