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Morning Notes

A rainbow at sunset over Reston Town Center (photo by Beth Allgaier)

Police Uses of Force Prompt Town Hall — Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk’s office will host a virtual town hall on July 21 to discuss recent use-of-force incidents by Fairfax County police officers. Lusk, who chairs the Board of Supervisors’ public safety committee, said he shares community concerns “about both the nature of these incidents, as well as the frequency at which they are occurring.” [Rodney Lusk/Twitter]

Possible Reston Arts Center Delayed — Reston Town Center developer Boston Properties got approval to extend the deadline for when Fairfax County has to decide whether to build a new performing arts center by six months. A proffer agreement for the next phase of the center’s development allows the county to require an arts center or a park on the site along Sunset Hills Road. [Patch]

Local Students Take in New Images of Deep Space — “On Monday, the world got a look at the first image from the most powerful telescope ever launched into space, the James Webb Space Telescope…More images were released on Tuesday, and in Fairfax County, students taking part in summer learning programs got their first look with a NASA Solar System Ambassador in Burke, Virginia.” [WTOP]

Prepare for New Running Bamboo Regulations — “The effective date for a new ordinance designed to control the spread of ‘running bamboo’ is still nearly six months away, but Fairfax County’s Department of Code Compliance is already working to get property owners prepared.” [Patch]

Vienna Delivery Company Leases Warehouse — “Vienna-based LaserShip signed a lease for a full 105K SF warehouse building in Chantilly, Virginia, the company announced Tuesday. The property it leased, the Stonecroft Industrial Center, is located at 14850 Thompson Road…The lease represents an expansion of LaserShip’s Northern Virginia footprint, where it already operates in Chantilly.” [Bisnow]

Herndon Police Remind Drivers to Stop — “THIRTY citations were issued over the past two weeks for drivers failing to come to a complete stop. Stop. At red lights. At stop signs. Not only is this the law, but it keeps our town safer!” [Herndon Police/Twitter]

Mini Golf Enlivens Capital One’s Tysons Campus — “Eleven stories up, on a rooftop at the corporate campus of one of America’s biggest banks, grown adults are playing miniature golf…They’re at Perch Putt, an 18-hole mini-golf course complete with bright green Astroturf and undulating greens. It’s one of the more playful, if unexpected, amenities of the corporate landscape.” [Fast Company]

Vienna Community Group Auctions Custom Yard Signs — “Rustic Love and Vienna Arts Society, two nonprofits based in Vienna, have teamed up for an auction that launched Sunday. The auction features 20 heart signs built by Rustic Love volunteers and painted by Vienna Arts Society artists.” [Patch]

It’s Wednesday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Two Fairfax County Police Department cars are shown parked outside an apartment complex in McNair (staff photo by David Taube)

Vehicle pursuits have come to a near halt amid new rules to avoid overly aggressive policing that can endanger people and communities.

The Fairfax County Police Department recently reported that vehicle pursuits went from above 100 per year in 2019-2021 to one per month as of May 17.

Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay said the data debunks the notion that aggressive policing leads to crime reduction. Police said none of those pursuits involved injuries.

During a public safety committee meeting for the Board of Supervisors on May 17, police also listed stats showing a decline in use of force complaints, from 19 in 2019 to 11 in 2020 and five in 2021. A presentation suggested no such complaints occurred this year at the time of the presentation.

The declines come as the department’s new police chief, Kevin Davis, started the position May 3, 2021, and the county works to address problems with policing. A University of Texas at San Antonio study showed that Fairfax County police used high levels of force at twice the rate against Black people than compared to white people.

But the public safety committee meeting providing no information about whether use of force incidents are still occurring disproportionately based on race. The use of force study spanned from 2016 through 2018.

A use of force committee, however, has helped address whether 59 recommendations from the study should be implemented, and the department has carried out 37 changes and has another 10 in the process of implementation, public safety committee chair and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said.

“This member of the Board of Supervisors is extraordinarily delighted and pleased by your success with regard to the recommendations,” he said. “The percentage that you’ve been able to achieve within the timeline that you’ve been given is impressive.”

Other department reforms have included providing every officer who is at the rank of second lieutenant or below with a Taser, a shift from last year when they would only carry one when the tools were available, Davis said.

The department also began a pilot project to use BolaWrap, a device about the size of a smartphone that deploys a cord around a person for restraint. Since the beginning in April, FCPD has used it three times as of May 17.

Further details on those incidents and future plans after the pilot weren’t immediately available.

“It’s the latest greatest iteration of how we can safely take people into custody,” Davis said. “It’s a restraint tool.”

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