Street Closures for the Salute to Our Troops Parade

The City of Winchester will honor veterans, current military personnel, and our nation’s history on Saturday during the Salute to our Troops Parade.  The parade will be held at 1 p.m. in Old Town Winchester and will run along the following streets: Piccadilly, Cameron, Braddock, and Cork ending at Cork and Cameron Streets.  The following streets will be blocked starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday:

  • 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 will be closed for the parade line-up.  The Braddock Street Autopark will also be closed starting at 11:30 a.m. until the conclusion of the parade around 2:30 p.m.

We hope you will join us in saluting our troops this Saturday.

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

Officers to Use Undercover Vehicles to Enforce Texting While Driving Law

The Winchester Police Department will use undercover SUVs to enforce the texting while driving law that went into effect July 1.  On Tuesday, July 16, 2013 officers will begin the undercover enforcement.  Drivers who are seen texting while behind the wheel will be charged.  On July 1 texting while driving became a primary offense in Virginia.  The changes with the law allow officers to now pull someone over if they see them texting while driving.  Those convicted will be fined $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second or subsequent offense.

The undercover enforcement is an effort to make our roadways safer.  Statistics show you are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash if you are texting while driving.  Make a promise today to stop driving distracted.  Your safety depends on it.

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

Fireworks Safety

Safety is the number one priority as residents enjoy fireworks in celebration of the Fourth of July.  The Winchester Police and Winchester Fire and Rescue Departments want to remind residents that public fireworks displays are the safest and most suitable alternative for viewing fireworks.  Public display fireworks are established under a controlled setting, safety regulations, and monitored by public safety organizations.

Many fireworks are not available in the City of Winchester because they are illegal. Firecrackers, cherry bombs, and skyrockets are just a few examples of fireworks which may be purchased in other areas but are illegal in Virginia.  Since even the possession of unapproved fireworks is prohibited in Winchester, such fireworks may be confiscated and persons possessing them can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail.  All fireworks that explode, emit a flame, sparks, or performs as a projectile are prohibited by the City of Winchester Fire Prevention Code.  Winchester Police Officers and Winchester Fire Marshals will be out ensuring residents are following the Winchester City Code (3309) pertaining to fireworks.  They will be issuing warnings for first time offenders and charging repeat offenders.

The fire department recommends you enjoy fireworks at a professional event.  If you do purchase fireworks for private use we urge you to purchase them from one of the approved vendors within the city.  Please consider the following safety precautions:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.  Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.  After fireworks have been fully discharged, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never use, ignite, or discharge any fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
  • Never leave pets unattended, even in a fenced yard. The chaos may cause them to panic and try to escape.

A number of local communities and public venues offer firework displays.  The City of Winchester’s “Rockin Independence Eve” Community Fireworks Display will be July 3, 2013 at approximately 9:15 pm in Old Town Winchester.

For further information you can go to www.winchesterva.gov/fire or contact fire department headquarters at 540-662-2298.

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

New Laws Take Effect July 1

Drivers in Virginia should be aware of some new laws that go into effect July 1.  There will be tougher laws on distracted driving, drinking and driving, and new requirements for moped drivers.

Distracted Driving

Effective July 1, texting while driving will be a primary offense meaning an officer can stop someone if they see them texting while driving.  Fines for texting while driving are increasing to $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second or subsequent offense.

Drinking and Driving

Beginning July 1, any driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction will be a felony if the person charged has one of the following prior convictions:

  • Involuntary manslaughter alcohol
  • Involuntary manslaughter alcohol boating
  • DWI maiming
  • Boating while intoxicated maiming
  • DWI third offense or subsequent

Mopeds

As of July 1, moped drivers must carry a government-issued photo ID.  All moped drivers and passengers must wear a helmet while riding a moped.  Drivers will also be required to wear a face shield.  If the moped doesn’t have a windshield, drivers must wear a face shield and safety glasses or goggles.  Virginia law also requires mopeds be titled and registered by July 1, 2014.  On July 1, 2013 the Department of Motor Vehicles will begin titling and registering mopeds.  The titles are $10 and the annual registration fee is $20.25.  These new requirements will allow law enforcement to better track mopeds that are stolen and/or used in commission of a crime.

The Winchester Police Department wants to educate the public on these new laws that take effect on Monday.  It is our hope that these laws will help to make our roads in the Commonwealth safer.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lcummings@ci.winchester.va.us

Deadline Approaching for Valor Awards Nominations

Last week members of local public safety departments once again showed their dedication to protecting citizens, as a number of first responders ran into a burning home in an effort to save a child trapped in the fire.  It is acts of courage like these that will be recognized at the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber Valor Awards in October.  Don’t miss out on the chance to nominate a member of a local public safety department or an everyday citizen for a Valor Award.  The dinner and awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2013 to honor those who have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of others.  Nominations for the awards are being accepted now.  This year’s awards will be made for acts that occurred between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012.

The deadline for nominations is July 15, 2013. 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/.

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

Drug Task Force Cracks Down on Heroin

This year 14 people in the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force Area have died from overdosing on heroin.  It’s becoming a growing problem in our area as local law enforcement agencies have seen a sharp increase in heroin usage since the beginning of the year.  In addition to the deaths, 29 people have overdosed on heroin, causing injury to themselves.  As a result the Task Force is cracking down on heroin dealers in an effort to put an end to this growing epidemic.  The Task Force Command Board has shown great support in getting behind this initiative to focus on these recent increases.  “We are going to throw all of our resources; local, state, and federal, at the growing trend of heroin cases we’ve seen in our area in the last six months,” says Lt. W. Stotlemyer.

The Command Board of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force will hold a press conference on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 on the heroin problem in our area.  The press conference will be held at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office at 10 a.m.

The Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force covers Frederick County, Winchester, Clarke County, Warren County, Front Royal, Page County, Strasburg, and Shenandoah County.

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

12th Annual Kids and Cops Camp

The Winchester Police Department’s 12th Annual Kids and Cops Camp kicks off Monday, June 17th.  This year more than 80 local children ages 9-12 will participate in the week-long camp.  The children will have the opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork and have a positive experience with law enforcement officers in an exciting, but disciplined environment.  Wednesday, June 19th is Community Service Day.  The campers will hold a car wash, bake sale, and yard sale in the parking lot of Molden Real Estate.  All of the proceeds from the sale will go to the Robert Shickle Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Corporal Shickle passed away in 2010 after battling cancer.

The following is an abbreviated schedule highlighting the events of the week.

Monday, June 17th

10:45 a.m. K-9 Demo (Rotary Shelter at Jim Barnett Park)
1 p.m. Obstacle Course (Paintball area behind the Rotary Shelter at Jim Barnett Park)

Tuesday, June 18th

9:00 a.m. Fire and Rescue Activities (Friendship Fire Company)
11:00 a.m. Kickball (Preston Field, Eagles, and Henkel Harris Fields)

Wednesday, June 19th

9:00 a.m. – 1 p.m. Community Service Day (Molden Real Estate, 2400 Valley Avenue)
2:00 p.m. Laser Tag (Skyline Paintball and Laser Tag, 2012 South Loudoun Street)

Thursday, June 20th

9:00 a.m. Kickball (Preston Field, Eagles, and Henkel Harris Fields)
Noon Field Trip to JayDee’s Family Fun Center (Inwood, WV)

Friday, June 21st

9:00 a.m. Kickball Tournament (Henkel Harris Field, 9am – Noon, Eagles Field – all day)
Noon Awards Ceremony (Rotary Shelter at Jim Barnett Park)
2:00 p.m. Final Kickball Tournament Game (Eagles Field)

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

City Council to Recognize 14-year-old’s Bravery

Savannah Payne was recognized by the Winchester City Council

Savannah Payne was recognized by the Winchester City Council

Tonight 14-year-old Savannah Payne will be recognized by the Winchester City Council for her brave handling of an emergency situation.  On February 25, 2013 Savannah called the Emergency Communications Center after her godmother had suffered a seizure while behind the wheel of her car, and had crashed into a tree on Jubal Early Drive.  Savannah stayed calm during the highly stressful situation and was able to tell the dispatcher her location so that emergency responders could provide medical assistance to her godmother.  The ECC staff was highly impressed with her bravery and calm demeanor.  Dispatcher Tammy DeHaven also did a wonderful job communicating with Savannah and helping to keep her calm.  DeHaven is a 16-year veteran of the department.

Savannah will be recognized tonight at 7 p.m. by the Winchester City Council.

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

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