Harrisonburg

City of Harrisonburg Announces New Fire Chief

Press Release:

Harrisonburg, Va. – The city of Harrisonburg announces the appointment of its next fire chief of the Harrisonburg Fire Department (HFD).

Ian Bennett, deputy chief of HFD, was selected from a candidate pool of 37 applicants. He has served as deputy fire chief of operations for the city since 2008 and has more than 28 years worth of experience in the fire service.

Bennett will replace retiring Chief Larry Shifflett, who ends his 46-year tenure with the city, including 33 years as chief, on July 31.

“We have a highly regarded fire department that Chief Shifflett leaves in great standing,” said Kurt Hodgen, city manager. “Ian Bennett is the best candidate to lead the department in the continuation of our culture of providing exceptional emergency services and public education.”

In 1987, Bennett began his career as a firefighter for the city and has worked with several other departments as deputy chief including Rockingham County, Auburn, Alabama, and the Virginia Air National Guard Fire and Rescue. He also served as a battalion chief for Castle Rock, Colorado.

Bennett received his undergraduate degree in political science from James Madison University and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He is also a member of the Virginia Fire Chief’s Association.

Bennett will begin his duties as fire chief on August 1.

The city of Harrisonburg is home to four Harrisonburg Fire Department stations. For more information about each fire station, visit Link.

Article written by NBc29

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Foreign Exhange

Foreign Exchange Student Program Looking for Host Families

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) –

The Program of Academic Exchange is looking for families in central Virginia to host foreign exchange students for the upcoming school year.

The students range from 15 to 18 years old.

The PAX program is looking for families at Charlottesville and Albemarle high schools as well as Monticello High School.

PAX says this is a special experience for both the student and the host family.

“All the families that have done it, they get to learn about the other culture and they get to share their culture with somebody from a foreign country,” Suzanne Coffey, regional development manager at PAX said.

PAX also needs host families in Greene, Louisa, Nelson, and Rockingham counties.

The deadline to apply is this Friday, July 1.

lsfva824 Commented: 
Do these students stay her in USA after school is over ?. I heard students are coming here for their last year of high school , graduating , then get in state college tuition. Something sounds wrong with this to me .
David Commented:
No need for exchange programs from Latin America. They cross the border by the thousands monthly, get $1000 travel stipends to go to any State they’d like. Schooling, medical coverage, housing and food given at the expense of the tax payers. It’s best to get on ICQ and contact a pen pal from one of these countries, get on a plane and work your way up the continent. Save you some $.
Article Written by NBC29
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Fairfax Police

New Fairfax Police Procedures Aim to Protect ‘Sanctity of Life’

Fairfax Police

A raft of new policies adopted June 21 by Board of Supervisors will boost the Fairfax County Police Department’s transparency with the public and ensure more thorough disclosure of facts following incidents, supervisors said.

“When it comes to community confidence, it’s critical,” Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock) said of the policy overhaul. “The real power and authority of law enforcement doesn’t really come from the weapons they are provided, it comes from the confidence of the community. In our community and nationwide, the community is asking for something different, something better, something more.”

The 202 recommendations came after eight months’ work by the Ad-Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, formed last year by Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) after county police shot and killed unarmed Kingstowne resident John Geer in 2013.

The new rules show a “reverence for the sanctity of life,” Bulova said. Police derive their authority from the public and incidents where they use force “must be investigated in a fair, balanced and comprehensive manner to ensure accountability and maintain public trust and legitimacy,” she said.

The commission recommended the county establish an Office of Independent Police Auditor to review use-of-force incidents involving law-enforcement personnel and a Civilian Review Panel to oversee civilian complaints about police misconduct and abuses of authority.

Officers now will be trained to interact with distraught people showing signs of “excited delirium.”

The commission also recommended equipping officers with electronic-control weapons, e.g., tasers.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said the department is grappling with the estimated $1.5 million cost, but would try to train and equip all patrol officers to use the high-voltage devices. Having undercover detectives carry the devices would be impractical, he said.

The department also might be willing to begin a pilot program with body cameras worn by officers, but outfitting all officers with the devices would involve a “staggering cost,” Roessler said. In addition, the cameras still have many legal questions that must be resolved, he said.

“Body-borne cameras are more complicated than people realize,” said Bulova, noting officials still must determine who can ask for and view the footage and whether innocent bystanders could be pixelated so as not be identified.

Some supervisors pressed for action on body cameras sooner than the planned 18-month time frame, but others said the board should wait to see if the General Assembly would pass bills pertaining to such equipment.

Supervisors also approved new communication policies centered around a predisposition to disclose information.

County police will continue to withhold information from the public regarding evidence in ongoing investigations. The department may release the names, ranks, tenure and other details about officers involved in use-of-force incidents, but only after the police chief within 10 calendar days reviews whether such disclosure would jeopardize the safety of those officers and their families. Supervisors would retain authority to overrule the police chief and require disclosure of officers’ names.

Herrity, who argued for publicly identifying former county police Officer Adam Torres in the Geer shooting case, disagreed with the new policy and voted against it.

“I believe the release of an officer’s name in a criminal proceeding before the process is complete not only puts the officer, but their wife and children, unnecessarily at risk,” he said. “There are a lot of crazy people out there who will react to a [Web] post. I’m not prepared to put our officers’ families at risk for an undefined public benefit.”

While not singling out Herrity, Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) said some board members had politicized the Geer case and said the new rules would squash inaccurate rumors.

The naming policy maintains trust with police officers, said Supervisor Penelope Gross (D-Mason). “It will go a long way toward raising morale,” she said.

Some in the auditorium silently pressed for greater accountability. When Roessler testified, a protester seated behind him placed signs behind the chief’s head reading “Say Her Name. Justice for Natasha McKenna” and “Cops with Tasers Killed Natasha.”

The placards referred to a Fairfax County Adult Detention Center inmate who died after being tasered by a sheriff’s deputy in February 2015. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh ruled no crime occurred.

County policy forbids the display of signs during supervisors’ meetings. Supervisors did not object to the protesters’ holding up placards, but officials controlling television coverage of the meeting switched to different camera angles when the signs appeared.

Nerves frayed when some supervisors delved into minutiae shortly before the vote. Cook, who chairs the board’s Public Safety Committee, was vexed that some supervisors declined to submit comments about the report earlier.

“This process only works if the board does its homework,” he said. “If board members haven’t read the whole thing by now, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”

View the ad-hoc commission’s report www.fairfaxcounty.gov/chairman/pdf/adhoc-final-10.8.15.pdf.

Article written by Inside Nova’s Staff Writer Brian Trompeter

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Harrisonburg Shooting

Harrisonburg Police Investigate N Main St. Shooting

Harrisonburg Police Department News Release in reference to Shooting:

At approximately 1:30 am on Saturday, June 25, 2016, officers from the Harrisonburg Police Department responded to a call of shots fired in the area of the 100-block of North Main Street.

Witnesses explained that at least three shots were fired at two individuals at the corner of North Main Street and East Wolfe Street. The shots were reported to have been fired from a gray sedan with a loud exhaust.

One of the shots may have struck one of the individuals, but the extent of the injury, if any, is unknown as each of the parties involved left the scene prior to the officers’ arrival.

One of the potential victims reportedly left as a passenger in a blue or gray car and the gray suspect vehicle fled after the shots were fired.

Shell casings from a 9mm handgun were recovered at the scene and officers continue to investigate the incident.

The HPD is concerned for the well being of the individuals involved in this incident and wishes to prevent further acts of violence. The department requests that anyone with information pertaining to this case contact the Major Crimes Unit at (540) 437-2640.

Callers can provide anonymous tips at CrimeSolvers: 540-574-5050 or text “HPD” plus the tip to CRIMES (274637).

Witnesses are reminded that CrimeSolvers may award monetary compensation for providing pertinent information regarding this or other criminal investigations.

Article written by NBc29

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Protect

AAA Offers Tips to Protect Your Home While Away

AAA Mid-Atlantic News Release:

RICHMOND, VA (Wednesday, June 29, 2016) – Nothing is more exciting than packing and getting ready for that much needed summer vacation to “get away from it all.”  Unfortunately, some vacationers will return home to find “it all” no longer there when they return home.  One of the biggest mistakes travelers make today is advertising their travel plans and whereabouts on social media sites.  Broadcasting your location information and posting photos while on vacation is like handing the key to your house to potential thieves.  AAA warns travelers to be vigilant and secure all property before leaving on vacation and to refrain from social media activity until after your trip.

Every 14.6 seconds, someone becomes a victim of burglary in the U.S., according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Moreover, household burglaries accounted for an average loss of $2,251 per offense in 2014, costing victims nearly 4 billion dollars in lost property.

“Summer vacation plans can quickly turn into a disaster for travelers who fail to execute a plan to protect their home while they are away,” warned Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “AAA advises homeowners to safeguard all property while away from home, including eliminating the need to post detailed status updates online in social media forums.”

Online Tips to Protect Your Property
•    Even if you are not “bragging” about your vacation details, social media settings can display your location online.  It’s best for travelers to completely log out and wait to log back in once home or make sure privacy and location settings are restricted.
•    Don’t say you are on vacation on voice mail. Likewise, make sure your family and children do not use an e-mail auto response noting you are out of town. Cyber crooks issue mass mailings in hopes of receiving these automatic reply messages and cross check them with on-line directories to determine where you live.
•    Only share details and photos of your trip after returning home.
•    Disconnect your computers. Make sure any personal information on your computer is difficult to access. Disconnect your electronic devices from the Internet to prevent hackers.

Offline Tips to Protect Your Property
Remember, a “lived-in” look is the single most important deterrent against burglars. Pretend that you are a burglar. Try to think the way they would and walk around your house, inside and out, to find potential weak spots.
•    Use timers on your lights, radios and televisions.
•    Keep your grass cut.
•    If you don’t stop your paper or mail delivery – make sure a neighbor or trusted friend collects them as a pile of newspapers on the driveway can tip off burglars.
•    Park an extra car outside and ask a trusted family member to move it from time to time.
•    Don’t leave garage door openers inside vehicles that will be parked outside the house.
•    Ask your family or trusted neighbor to get boxes, etc. if you expect deliveries while you are gone.
•    Don’t let the trash pile up.
•    Use flood lights and motion detectors. Keeping your lights on during the day time is a dead give-away that you’re not at home.
•    Look through your windows and see what valuables are visible. If you can see any special possessions, move them out of clear sight.
•    Store your valuables in non-traditional places such as the bathroom or attic. Burglars tend to want to get out quickly, so they go to the most likely room in the house first.

Before You Leave…..
•    Take an inventory – use a video camera to video all of your possessions – everything from furniture to jewelry to stereo equipment and televisions. Then be sure to review and update your insurance coverage.
•    If possible, get an alarm system. They are a great deterrent to burglars. You may also receive a discount on your insurance rates.
•    Don’t forget to protect yourself from identity theft while on vacation by tracking your credit and finances with a monitoring service.

Be aware that not all of your valuables will be covered by homeowners insurance in the event of a burglary. There are limits on the amount of coverage you receive for valuables such as jewelry, antiques, business property and art, but you can purchase endorsements that will add extra protection. If you do become a victim, call 911 right away and report the crime.  Once you have the police report, call your homeowners insurance agency to file a claim for property theft and damages.

“Protecting our assets at home and while away from home is key to a successful vacation,” noted Arnette.  “A failure to plan ahead can lead to disappointing financial losses and a sour ending to a sweet vacation.”

Article written by NBC 29

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West Virginia Flood

Education Association Collecting Supplies for WVA Flood Victims

The Prince William Education Association is collecting supplies for West Virginia flood victims.

At least 23 people died and the governor declared a state emergency in nearly 50 counties after June 23 flash floods ravaged the state. More than 1,200 homes were destroyed.

The Prince William Education Association Office will be serving as a collection point for local relief efforts and will be collecting the following items:

  • Canned ready-to-eat (no cook) food
  • Non-perishables (i.e. crackers, jelly, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies (including buckets)
  • Paper products (paper towels, toilet paper)
  • Toiletries (trial sizes preferred)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby care items (diapers, food)
  • Pet food
  • Children’s books, toys and games

The Prince William Education Association office at 8510 Bucyrus Court in Manassas will accept donations from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, June 29 2016
  • Thursday, June 30 2016
  • Wednesday, July 6 2016
  • Thursday, July 7 2016

For those who may prefer to write a check, these may be made payable to the American Red Cross with West Virginia Flood Relief in the memo line. The association will see that all donations are directed to the correct entities.

For more information, click here.

Article Written by Inside Nova

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Stafford

Happy 18th Birthday: You’re Going to Jail

Updated

We’re told the suspect in a breaking and entering that occurred Thursday in Park Ridge is an adult. The suspect celebrated his 18th birthday on the same day he was charged with breaking and entering, said Stafford sheirff’s spokeswoman M.C. Moncure.

The victim in this case heard someone trying to break into his house about lunchtime on Thursday and called police. The victim chased the suspect outside the house as neighbors looked on, said Moncure. Those neighbors were able to assist sheriff’s deputies in locating the suspect, she added.

Richard Lee Snyder, Jr., is charged with breaking and entering, said Moncure.

Here’s the official media release:

On June 15, 2016 a homeowner on Park Cove Drive in the Park Ridge subdivision noticed pry marks on his door and believed they were a result of someone attempting to break into his home. He decided to stay at home the following day and make sure his property was secure.

On June 16, 2016 at approximately 12:20 p.m. the homeowner was watching television in his living room when he heard glass breaking at his rear basement door. He ran to the door and observed a young white male run through his back yard and over a fence. He immediately called 911 and Stafford Deputies responded. The homeowner was able to provide a description to dispatchers who relayed the information to units in route. Several neighbors also provided directions of travel on the suspect. Within thirty minutes, the suspect was apprehended in a field on Parkway Blvd.

Richard Lee Snyder, Jr., age 18 was arrested and charged with two counts of Possession of Burglary Tools, Destruction of Property and Entering Property of Another to Damage. He was taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail and incarcerated with no bond.

Original post

Authorities in Stafford County today arrested a teenage boy in connection to a reported breaking and entering at a home on Park Cove Drive.

The Stafford Sheriff’s Office received a Breaking and Entering call from a homeowner at approximately 12:20 p.m. today in the Park Ridge neighborhood.  Several units responded to pursue the suspect.  Roadblocks, as well as K-9 units were quickly engaged during the pursuit.  Within the next thirty minutes, a juvenile male was apprehended in the neighborhood and is now in custody.

Article written by Potomac Local

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Fishersville

Fishersville Man Charged with Manslaughter

Christopher S. Diehl, 31, of Fishersville, was being held in Middle River Regional Jail in Verona Monday on the two charges, according to the Virginia State Police.

The State Police said Diehl was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-81 at the 215 mile marker just before 5 a.m. Sunday morning. He was driving a 2016 Toyota Tundra.

The Toyota Tundra struck head-on a 2011 Volkswagon Tiguan driven by Gina Hoang, 59, of Christiansburg.  She died at the scene. She was wearing a seatbelt.

The crash remains under investigation and the follow-up is being done with the assistance of the Appomattox Division Crash Reconstruction Team. The state trooper on the case is also investigating when the Toyota Tundra moved into the northbound lanes.

Meanwhile, the victim of a motorcycle crash in Augusta County earlier this month has died, according to the State Police.

William Anderson, 59, of Harrisonburg, died at the University of Virginia Medical Center on Friday.

The State Police said Anderson was riding a 2012 Harley-Davidson motorcycle south on Route 742 in Augusta County on June 16. The accident happened a mile north of Route 927. The motorcycle came through a curve, ran off the right side of the road and struck a cattle fence. The accident happened in the Weyers Cave area.

Anderson was wearing a helmet, and alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

Article written by Daily Progress

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Murder Suicide

Police Rule Triangle Deaths a Murder Suicide

Police have ruled the May 23 death of an 18-year-old Gar-Field High School student in an apartment in Triangle as a homicide.

Officers were called to the 3600 block of Jurgensen Drive in the Linden Park Apartments at 6:45 p.m. after a family member of one of those found dead was unable to contact that person, said Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus.

Officers arrived and had to force entry into one of the rooms, where they found 18-year-old Danesha Lanae Simpson and boyfriend, 29-year-old Elvin Francisco Draper, dead.

On Monday, police announced that Simpson’s death was a murder and Draper’s a suicide. They said Draper fatally shot Simpson, then turned the gun on himself.

Simpson was a senior set to graduate from Gar-Field High School this year, according to family members.

The case is Prince William County’s 12th homicide of the year.

Article Written by InsideNova

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Woodbridge Va

VSP identifies Victim of Fatal Crash in Augusta County

Virginia State Police J.S. Martin is investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash in Augusta County. The crash occurred June 26, 2016, at 4:55 a.m., on Interstate 81 near the 215 mile marker.

A 2016 Toyota Tundra was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-81 when it struck head-on a northbound 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan.

The driver of the VW, Gina Hoang, 59, of Christiansburg, Va., died at the scene. She was wearing a seatbelt.

The driver of the Toyota, Christopher S. Diehl, 31, of Fishersville, Va., was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt.

Diehl has been charged with DUI and aggravated involuntary manslaughter. He is being held at Middle River Regional Jail in Staunton, Va.

The crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the Appomattox Division Crash Reconstruction Team. Trooper Martin is also still in the process of determining how and where Diehl got into the northbound lanes of I-81.

Original Article:

STAUNTON, Va (WVIR) –

From Virginia State Police:

At 5:04 a.m., Sunday (June 26, 2016), Virginia State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 at the 215 mile marker in Augusta County.

There is one confirmed fatality. One driver was arrested for DUI. The crash remains under investigation.

Press Release from VDOT:

I-81 NORTHBOUND REOPENS IN AUGUSTA COUNTY

STAUNTON – (8:45 a.m.) Both northbound lanes have been reopened on Interstate 81 in Augusta County. The lanes had been closed due to a crash early Sunday morning near mile marker 215 in the Greenville area. Traffic backups have cleared out.

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at 511Virginia.org.  On the go?  Then visit VDOT’s Free Virginia 511 Tools to get your 511 app for android or iOS.  Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511.

For other assistance call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR- ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia’s roads. Get our web-based VDOT Customer Service app here.

The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. RSSfeeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at www.VirginiaDOT.org.

(END)

Article written by NBC29

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