Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run Passes through Winchester

Torch Run 2013

Torch Run 2013

The Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting Special Olympics Virginia will pass through Northern Virginia Region 6 on Tuesday June 4th, as runners make their way to Richmond for the Summer Games.  The Region 6 run will commence at the Old Town Mall beginning at 7:30 a.m. and will pass through several areas including Cork Street, Washington Street, Handley Blvd., and south on Valley Avenue towards Kernstown to the Virginia State Police Barracks.  The torch will be passed on to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and carried to the Frederick County/Shenandoah County line.

Beginning June 1 at seven points across the Commonwealth, officers will carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope more than 1,900 miles across Virginia.  On June 7, Metro Richmond officers will run the last leg from the Capitol to the University of Richmond Robins Center, where they’ll join more than 1,300 athletes and officially open the Summer Games.

In addition to lighting the flame, we’ll also celebrate the fundraising efforts of the more than 2,000 officers involved in the Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run, sponsored by SunTrust and Enterprise and supported by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Sheriff’s Association, the Virginia Department of Corrections, the Virginia Association of Regional Jails and the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.  Since June 2012, they have raised more than $1 million for Special Olympics, pushing their overall fundraising total to more than $15 million since the Torch Run’s inception in Virginia in 1986.

For more information about the Northern Virginia Region 6 Torch Run route, please see the included schedule or visit www.torchrunva.com.  In addition, everyone is invited to cheer on the officers as they make their way through town; media also are invited to join the officers at several water stops along the route.  Water stops will take place at various locations on the route.

For more information, please contact Special Olympics Virginia PR Director Holly Claytor at 804-370-7916 or hclaytor@specialolympicsva.org, or Lauren Cummings, spokesperson for the Winchester Police Department at 540-771-7642.  For more information on Special Olympics Virginia, visit www.specialolympicsva.org.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Take Time to Talk About Child Safety

The Winchester Police Department is calling on parents and guardians to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety.  May 25th has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day since it was first recognized in 1983. National Missing Children’s Day serves as an annual reminder that there are thousands of children who are still missing and stresses the importance of making child protection a national priority. The Take 25 campaign is a national child safety public awareness campaign created in 2007 by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The campaign encourages parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and ways to prevent abduction.

“Every day we hear stories about children who escaped a would-be-abductor because someone talked to them about what they should do in that type of situation”, said National Center for Missing & Exploited Children CEO John Ryan. “Education and open communication are key to keeping children safer. Take 25 minutes and talk to your child.”

Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than approximately 2,000 each day. Of that number, it is estimated that 200,000 are abducted by family members and approximately 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. Each year, it is estimated that 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions; they are taken by non-family members and either murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.

An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 84% of cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through their own actions. Teaching children about safety works. It saves lives. 

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984.  It is the leading nonprofit organization that deals with the issues of missing children and sexual exploitation of children.  It operates the national toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST, as well as the CyberTipline which is the national system for reporting suspected sexual exploitation of children.  To learn more about NCMEC or to make a donation, visit www.missingkids.com or call 1-800-THE-LOST.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Top of VA Regional Chamber to Honor Public Safety Heroes

Public safety personnel often go above and beyond the call of duty with little or no recognition.  These men and women in our community expose themselves to great personal risk and life-threatening situations to ensure our safety.  The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber and the local business community want to celebrate these inspiring individuals, as well as citizens for the selfless sacrifices they make to keep our community safe.

We are excited to announce a new event to recognize public safety heroes in our community.  Members of the media are invited to attend a press conference on June 3, 2013 at 1 p.m. in front of the Timbrook Public Safety Center at 231 East Piccadilly Street.  Local public safety chiefs and leaders will be present for this exciting announcement.

WPD to Take Part in Click It or Ticket

Virginia roadways will be busy this Memorial Day holiday as folks celebrate the unofficial start of summer.  Winchester Police will be out in full force beginning next week to aggressively enforce seat belt laws.  Beginning May 20, 2013 the Winchester Police Department will be taking part in the 2013 national Click It or Ticket campaign.  Officers will be cracking down on motorists who are not buckled up and will be checking to ensure proper child restraint use.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, with the proper use of seat belts you are 40 percent less likely to be fatally injured during a crash.  Virginia law requires seat belt use for drivers and front seat passengers 18 years of age and older, and all passengers younger than 18.  The WPD strongly encourages all passengers in the car to buckle up whether they are in the front or back seats as regular seat belt use has proven to save lives.

“Winchester Police Department officers are dedicated to saving lives.  Aggressive enforcement of the seat belt law is the most effective way of attaining that goal.  I believe that 2/3 of traffic fatalities during my tenure as Chief could have been avoided by the proper wearing of seatbelts.  We want to prevent any further needless deaths,” says Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher.

This year’s enforcement mobilization runs through June 2, 2013, but drivers should know that Winchester Police Officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Rental Chairs Taken After Apple Blossom

The Winchester Police Department is asking for the public’s help after nearly 300 chairs went missing following Apple Blossom.  The chairs that had been rented by a Boy Scout Troop were in front of 103 and 104 North Braddock Street.  They were supposed to be picked up by a rental company on May 5th, but when the company arrived, the chairs were no longer there.  The chairs are white non-folding plastic chairs.  It is believed they were picked up on May 5th between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  It is our hope that the chairs were mistakenly picked up by a different rental company and that they will come forward so that the Boy Scout Troop will not be responsible for paying thousands of dollars for the missing chairs.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Winchester Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 540-545-4704 or Crime Solvers at 540-665-TIPS (8477).

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Winchester Featured in National Report on City Leadership for Children and Families

Timbrook House

Timbrook House

Winchester is featured in a new report highlighting promising city efforts to improve the lives of children, youth, and families in communities with populations below 75,000.  The city was selected for inclusion in the report for the Winchester Police Department’s Timbrook House Youth Reporting Center (YRC) initiative.

For three years the Timbrook House has been providing alternatives to detention for juvenile offenders, including those who violate terms of probation or who commit new crimes while on probation.  Referrals to the Timbrook House come from the school system or juvenile court.  Many of the referred youth are nonviolent offenders with serious truancy or behavioral problems who previously would have been sent to detention facilities or expelled from school.  As the report states, the YRC has proven successful with the number of contacts between the police department and youth referred to the program declining.

“We are very proud of the services our staff provides to the kids at Timbrook House.  We see this article as an opportunity to share our experience with other communities,” says Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher.

The National League of Cities published the report “Municipal Leadership for Children and Families in Small and Mid-Sized Cities” which describes innovative strategies from more than 40 cities and towns across the country.  Visit www.nlc.org/smallcities to view the report.

NLC’s new report is designed to provide municipal leaders with new ideas and inspiration to guide local action on behalf of young people and families in their communities.  The report draws upon information gathered from surveys, interviews, and a scan of promising practices identified by NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and state municipal leagues.  It explores the unique challenges and opportunities facing small and mid-sized cities that seek to improve outcomes for children and youth.

For more information on the Timbrook House please visit http://winchesterpolice.org/timbrook-house-youth-reporting-center

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Traffic Delays

Area residents should expect traffic delays in the downtown Winchester area beginning tonight around 6 p.m.  Venders will be coming to the downtown area to setup for the Midway.  Drivers should expect traffic delays in the North End of the downtown area during this time.

Officers are beginning to post no parking signs in the downtown area.  The majority of the parking restrictions will go into effect Friday morning.

We would like to remind the public that if you are not attending an Apple Blossom event to avoid the downtown Winchester area or expect major delays due to increased traffic.

We wish everyone a safe and happy Bloom.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Phone Scam Update

Local residents are continuing to receive calls from an automated message claiming to be from Winchester Federal Credit Union.  Residents are reminded to hang up when they receive these calls.  If you hang up and have not given your information on these calls, there is no need to call the police department.  If you have given your information including your credit card number, please contact your bank immediately and then call the Winchester Police Department Non-Emergency number at (540) 662-4131 to file a police report.  We appreciate your cooperation in this matter as our dispatchers are experiencing a very high call volume due to Apple Blossom Festival.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Phone Scam

The Winchester Police Department wants to warn area residents of a phone scam.  Residents are receiving calls claiming to be from Winchester Federal Credit Union.  The automated message states that your debit card information has been restricted or compromised.  This is a scam.  Last week some residents received text messages with a similar message. Some of the numbers return to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico or are listed as “unknown”.  These calls and text messages are an attempt to obtain personal account information.  Please do not respond to these calls or give out any of your personal information over the phone or through other electronic means.  Winchester Federal Credit Union and other financial companies will not leave a phone message such as this and would not ask for your personal information over the phone.

If you have responded to these messages and given your personal information out, please call (800) 528-2273 to have your card blocked.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov

Operation Valley Venue

A special operation conducted by the Northwest VA Regional Drug and Gang Task Force cracked down on illegal narcotics in the area.  The eight hour operation aimed at identifying, targeting and arresting individuals responsible for the distribution, manufacturing, and transportation of illegal narcotics.  The North End Team covered the City of Winchester and Frederick County.  Agents conducted 21 searches of residences with probation officers.  The Task Force was assisted by six agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Winchester Police Department, Virginia State Police, Probation and Parole, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  The group also visited 15 residences of interest.  The following arrests were made:

  • Jeremy Simpson for probation violation – 200 block of Millwood Avenue, Winchester
  • Matthew Hoenig for possession of narcotics and probation violation – 500 block of North Kent Street, Winchester
  • Terry Johnson for providing false information to a law enforcement officer – 100 block of Lamden Avenue, Winchester
  • Carroll Smith for possession of marijuana, 200 block of Ash Hollow Drive, Frederick County
  • Bradley Martin for probation violation, 1300 block of Pitcock Lane, Frederick County
  • Kathleen Stickley for possession of marijuana, 200 block of Cougar Trail, Frederick County

The following drugs were found during searches of homes; heroin, marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and prescription drugs.  Agents had encounters with four known gang members.  More than $900 of U.S. Currency was taken from a home in the 100 block of Lamden Avenue.  Five homes were cited with code violations and a residence on Bellview Avenue was deemed uninhabitable by Zoning and Inspections.

This was the first operation of its kind conducted in Winchester and Frederick County and is part of the Task Force’s effort to get drugs off our streets and make our area a safer place to live.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov