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A crossing for Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 4:20 p.m. on 3/25/2024) Schools in Vienna, Herndon and Fort Belvoir have or are at risk of losing their crossing guards due to budget constraints facing the Fairfax County Police Department.

The Vienna Town Council and Mayor Linda Colbert were informed at a recent work session that the county will no longer provide crossing guards for any schools in the town’s limits because of a lack of funding, Councilmember Howard Springsteen shared at the council’s meeting on Monday (March 18).

The nine affected crossings would instead need to be covered by the Vienna Police Department, which doesn’t have sufficient staffing to handle the added duties, according to Springsteen, whose comments were first reported by Patch.

“Schools are not our responsibility. It’s a county responsibility,” he said. “…I know the mayor’s been working on this and the council’s been pretty upset about this. We’re working on that, but people need to be aware of some of the issues we deal with behind the scenes.”

Vienna isn’t the only place affected. The FCPD said it would also eliminate coverage for one crossing each in Herndon and Fort Belvoir, according to a letter from Vienna Police Chief Jim Morris to Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis.

The Herndon Police Department says it was notified late last fall that FCPD was removing its officers from a crossing at Herndon Elementary School, effective Jan. 1. Because only one spot was affected, the town was able to fill the gap.

“Herndon does not have a school crossing guard program, but we take the safety of our kids very seriously,” HPD spokesperson Lisa Herndon said. “Unlike the Town of Vienna, which has been left with multiple vacancies as a result of the crossing guards being removed, we have only one crossing and have managed to cover it with patrol officers each day.”

Fort Belvoir has also taken over crossing guard duties at its on-base school, according to March 19 memo from the FCPD to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The crosswalk covered by an FCPD officer was across Meeres Road in front of Fort Belvoir Upper School and the Child Development Center, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs told FFXnow.

The Army installation says it’s “currently working with FCPD, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Fort Belvoir Elementary school leadership to discuss a way ahead.”

“As we gather more information, Fort Belvoir will be in a better position to decide on the best way to ensure crosswalk safety,” Fort Belvoir Public Affairs said. “The safety of our children remains our number one priority.”

The FCPD indicated in a statement to FFXnow that discussions about how to handle the school crossings in Vienna are still in the preliminary stages.

“Given the primary jurisdiction responsibilities afforded to the Town of Vienna for law enforcement and public safety, the FCPD has engaged the Vienna Police Department in preliminary discussions surrounding school crossing coverages,” the department said. “As our conversations continue, all school crossing coverages will be handled by the FCPD.” Read More

Vienna Presbyterian Church (file photo)

Vienna police are investigating a conflict between a guest and workers at the town’s hypothermia shelter that involved a bomb threat.

Officers responded to the Vienna Presbyterian Church (124 Park Street NE), which is hosting the shelter, at 3:04 a.m. on Feb. 2 after a man fought with a staff member and “threatened to bomb the church,” according to the Vienna Police Department’s Feb. 1-8 crime recap.

“A patron of the Church’s hypothermia shelter was sleeping in front of the exterior door,” the police summary says. “When a shelter worker asked him to move, the man became upset and smashed the window inside the door. The man then threatened to bomb the church before running from the scene.”

The man was arrested “off site” on Friday (Feb. 9) and has now been charged with two felonies, according to Vienna Presbyterian Church Missions Director Sue Hamblen. A Vienna Police spokesperson confirmed “an arrest was made and the man was taken into custody in Fairfax City.”

“We will pray that he receives the help he needs to reclaim his life,” Hamblen told FFXnow by email. “VPC recognizes the risks of opening our building to potential disruption, but our faith commands us to care for those in need.”

The church is a regular host site for Fairfax County’s Hypothermia Prevention Program, which provides overnight shelter during the winter to people experiencing homelessness. During its two weeks at Vienna Presbyterian, the shelter is overseen by the nonprofit New Hope Housing, which also helps transport guests.

The Feb. 2 incident began when the man “became extremely agitated,” a reminder of the mental health challenges that many guests of the shelter face, Hamblen says.

“Despite New Hope’s best efforts to deescalate the situation, the guest left in anger,” she said. “He broke one of our exterior doors with a skateboard and, in anger, suggested that he might consider setting a bomb off in the church.”

In response to the encounter, the church and New Hope both implemented enhanced security measures for the shelter. Church staff increased their video surveillance of the property and began making more impromptu visits overnight, while New Hope added a third worker to its on-site staff.

The Vienna Police Department also provided nightly patrols “as an additional safeguard” and worked with staff around 4 a.m. “on several mornings to inspect every single room, restroom, pew and stairwell to ensure all was secure,” Hamblen said.

Despite the occasional obstacles, Hamblen says Vienna Presbyterian is proud to serve as a hypothermia shelter, hosting over 500 guests across 154 nights since first joining the program almost 10 years ago.

“We have met some incredible people, and indeed faced a few challenges as well,” Hamblen wrote. “Our congregation loves this opportunity to serve those in need, and we realize that any one of us could be in a position to need a similar helping hand at any time in the future.”

Running until March 31, the Hypothermia Prevention Program relies on nonprofit partnerships and volunteering faith groups, along with the county’s permanent shelters. It typically draws over 1,000 people each season, averaging 215 guests per night during the 2022-2023 season, per the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness website.

A Vienna police car parked on Cherry Street (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Police have identified two teens as suspects in a spree of postal box thefts that began half a year ago with a mail carrier getting robbed and pepper-sprayed in Vienna.

A 19-year-old man and a younger teen were arrested Friday (Jan. 5) in the 3000 block of Borge Street in Oakton, announced the Vienna Police Department, whose detectives coordinated the search with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Fairfax County SWAT officers.

The teens have been charged with robbery, assault with a caustic substance and identity theft, though the VPD didn’t specify which charges applied to each individual.

According to police, a postal worker reported around 11:50 a.m. on June 2 that a person with a knife had demanded their U.S. Postal Service mailbox keys and assaulted them with pepper spray before fleeing. The encounter occurred in the 500 block of Church Street NE, along the carrier’s assigned route.

“Subsequent to the initial incident, a series of thefts occurred, targeting blue collection boxes in the Vienna, Fairfax, and Oakton areas,” Vienna police said. “In response, Vienna PD initiated a collaborative investigation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.”

The Postal Inspection Service provides support to the U.S. Post Office by investigating all mail-related crimes.

Even after the arrests, which were made without incident, the investigation into the thefts is ongoing, police said.

The Vienna Police Department expressed thanks to the Postal Inspection Service, Fairfax County Police Department and “citizens who came forward and provided information that helped bring the case to a successful conclusion.”

Popeyes at Maple Avenue Shopping Center in Vienna (via Google Maps)

This Halloween brought neither trick nor treat for two men in Vienna who got served instead with assault charges.

Police officers were called to the Vienna Park apartments in the 200 block of Cedar Lane SE around 9:40 a.m. on Oct. 30 after one resident declined to pick up his dog’s feces and another took umbrage, the Vienna Police Department said in its crime recap for the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 2.

“The man advised that he and his brother confronted the dog’s owner, resulting in an altercation,” the VPD said. “The dog’s owner advised his two neighbors assaulted him while he was picking up the waste, causing minor injury. Rescue responded to treat the small cut, but the man refused transport to a medical facility.”

Police say the dog owner later got court summonses from the Fairfax County Magistrate’s Office that charged both men — a 41-year-old Vienna resident and a 26-year-old from Harrisionburg — with simple assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia that could result in a jail sentence of up to a year or a fine of up to $1,000.

VPD officer Celines Fitchue delivered the summons on Oct. 31. Both men “were released on their signatures,” the recap says.

October also closed on an unpleasant note for a customer of the Popeyes in the Maple Avenue Shopping Center, according to the Vienna police report:

Trespassing and Petit Larceny 23-010041 and 23-010052
325 Maple Avenue, East
October 28 8:19 p.m.

An employee reported a customer was upset with the quality of their meal and threw a stack of disposable cups at them. When the man left the restaurant, he forgot his book bag. The employee requested the man be trespassed from the restaurant. A short time later, the man called the police station, reporting his book bag stolen. The man was advised that he had left the property in the restaurant and could come to the police station to retrieve it. When he recovered his property, he reported that US currency was missing. An officer advised the man he was trespassed from the restaurant and would be arrested if he returned to the premises.

A day later, police helped F45 Fitness Training (322 Maple Avenue West) trespass a patron who was “talking inappropriately to the employees.”

Officers also took a report on Oct. 25 of someone pouring “syrup on the pickleball court” at Glyndon Park (300 Glyndon Street NE) sometime between midnight and 8:30 a.m., according to the recap.

“[The citizen] also advised that on October 11, she observed another liquid that had been poured on the court,” the VPD said.

Photo via Google Maps

Vienna Police (file photo)

(Updated at 10 a.m.) An Arlington man faces criminal charges after Vienna police learned that a vehicle he reported as stolen had, in fact, been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

The Vienna Police Department got a report on July 30 from a supposed resident who said his vehicle had been stolen out of his garage on Battle Street SE sometime between midnight on July 29 and 9 a.m. on July 30.

“A resident left his vehicle unsecured in the garage with the keys inside overnight,” police said in a summary from its recap of the week of Aug. 4. “Due to a storm and power outage, the garage door was unable to close. The following day, the resident discovered the vehicle was stolen.”

The VPD noted at the time that the vehicle was later located in another jurisdiction.

A subsequent investigation, however, linked the vehicle to a crash in Arlington County where the driver fled the scene with two children, according to an update in the VPD’s latest recap, which covers the week of Sept. 8-14.

“Investigation revealed the driver was the owner of the vehicle who made the stolen vehicle report the following morning,” Vienna police said.

According to the Arlington County Police Department, its officers were dispatched to the 1500 block of North Bryan Street around 10:07 p.m. on July 29 for a single-vehicle crash “with unknown conditions.”

“The preliminary investigation indicated the driver of the vehicle struck a stop sign and utility pole at 16th Street N. and N. Bryan Street before exiting the vehicle with the two juvenile occupants and running from the scene prior to police arrival,” an ACPD spokesperson said.

Vienna police arrested the 42-year-old Arlington man on Sept. 7 after Detective Brad Reedy obtained a warrant charging him with making a false report to a law enforcement officer.

The man has also been charged by Arlington police with two counts each of child neglect and hit and run of unattended property.

“He was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where the warrants were served on him,” the VPD said.

In a separate, more recent incident, Vienna police responded at 7:14 p.m. last Tuesday (Sept. 12) to an assault in the Cedar Park Shopping Center parking lot, according to the weekly recap.

The officers located two men who advised they were getting into an Uber when three or four men approached the vehicle, pulled them out of the vehicle, and began assaulting them. The two men had visible signs of injury, but refused rescue. They reported they did not know the men who attacked them and advised they did not wish to pursue charges against them. Officers searched the area for the suspects but could not locate them.

The Vienna Police Department headquarters (file photo)

The Fairfax County Police Department is hoping to add a detective from the Town of Vienna to its ranks.

Under a reciprocal agreement set to be approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tomorrow (Tuesday), the Vienna detective will specifically help investigate drug and vice crimes as part of the larger department’s Organized Crime and Narcotics division.

“These crimes have a substantial and detrimental effect on the health and welfare of our communities and the cooperative effort between the Town of Vienna Police Department and FCPD would be advantageous in disrupting illicit activities,” county staff said in the board agenda.

According to the staff memo, Vienna had provided a detective who worked full-time in the FCPD’s narcotics division since July 1990. However, the partnership got put on hold in 2021 when the Vienna Police Department encountered “staffing constraints.”

Since then, the Vienna department has managed an about-face on those staffing challenges, reducing its vacancies to just one out of 52 positions, as of May.

With the revived reciprocal agreement, the Vienna Police Department will once again assign a detective to work with the FCPD full-time. County officers in the Organized Crime and Narcotics division will also get the authority to enforce drug and vice laws in the Town of Vienna, including by making arrests.

In addition, the Vienna Police Department will be able to claim a portion of the property seized in cases worked by its detective, according to the staff memo.

Sharing of forfeited assets shall be distributed based on the amount of work performed by each detective on any given case as determined by the Commander of OCN. The minimum amount that the Town of Vienna Police Department will receive shall be 5% of all asset sharing requests processed by the Fairfax County Police Department’s OCN. The maximum amount that the Town of Vienna Police Department will receive shall be no more than 70% of all asset sharing requests processed by the FCPD.

While working with the FCPD, the detective will be required to follow county rules, including the Trust Policy that bars county employees from sharing information about an individual’s citizenship or immigration status with federal immigration authorities unless required by law or court order.

Pazzo Pomodoro in Vienna (via Google Maps)

Late night drinks ended in a round of fisticuffs at Vienna’s Pazzo Pomodoro last Wednesday (July 12).

Officers were called to the Italian restaurant at 118 Branch Road SE around 1:30 a.m. after getting a report of a fight, the Vienna Police Department said in a summary of notable incidents from the week of July 7-13.

According to the report, bystanders told police that the conflict began when a man made “comments about a couple” at the restaurant’s bar, which is open until 1 a.m. on Sundays through Thursdays.

“One of the other patrons was offended by the comments and asked the man to stop,” the VPD said. “When the man continued with the comments, a fight ensued between the man, the patron, and the patron’s adult son.”

Other customers and employees were able to break up the fight before the police arrived and advised those involved of the process for pursuing charges, should they opt to go that route, according to the VPD.

In a separate, belatedly documented incident, police went to the 200 block of Harmony Drive SW on June 2 to settle a dispute between a resident and a group of teen boys.

Officers received two calls about the incident: one from the resident and another from a caller who claimed the resident had brandished a handgun.

The resident advised she heard a loud banging at her front door and she observed several teenage boys standing by the curb. The resident yelled at the boys, swearing and using racial slurs. When the boys began cursing back she called the police. The boys advised they left the local pool and were waiting for a ride when an unknown boy ran up to the resident’s door, knocked, and ran away. The resident then began yelling at them and emerged with a gun.

The resident told officers that she was holding her phone to call the police, not a gun — an assertion confirmed by a cell phone video that the boys recorded of the encounter, the VPD said.

Also in the department’s latest round-up, a traffic stop on June 30 led to the driver — a 30-year-old Herndon man — getting charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, and a resident reported on July 13 that her dog got sick from ingesting rat poison while in her backyard.

“It is not known how the poison could have gotten into the resident’s yard,” police said.

At the Westwood Country Club on July 7, a “disgruntled” employee was trespassed after “breaking several plates, shoving the manager, and placing several employees in fear.”

In addition, a resident in the 1100 block of Moorefield Hill Court SW called police on July 10 to report that his dog walker had seen another woman who claimed to be a dog walker enter his home around noon that day:

At 7:30 p.m., a resident reported an incident from earlier in the day when his dog walker observed a woman walk through the carport and into his home. The woman immediately left saying she had the wrong house. The dog walker provided the resident with the woman’s description and the tag number from her vehicle. Officers went to the woman’s home and she advised them that she is a dog walker and accidentally walked into a home thinking it was her client’s address then quickly realized she was at the wrong house.

Photo via Google Maps

A late afternoon baseball game at Waters Field in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Assault charges could be on deck for a Vienna man who allegedly chased and grabbed a boy during a youth baseball game earlier this week.

Vienna police officers were called to 133 Maple Avenue East at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (June 14) after getting a report of a man grabbing a juvenile at Waters Field (300 Cherry Street), according to the police department’s crime round-up for the week of June 9-15.

Identifying himself as being “with” the local Babe Ruth Baseball League, the man told police that the league has faced “an ongoing issue with the games being interrupted by juveniles.”

“The man explained there was a game in progress at Water’s Field when a group of boys ran onto the field and interrupted the game,” the Vienna Police Department said in the report. “He stated that he chased them off the field, grabbing one of them in an attempt to bring him to the police station.”

When contacted by police, the boys said they were at Vienna Inn (120 Maple Avenue East) with their soccer team when they decided to go to Waters Field and “climb the fence onto the ballfield.”

“They advised they did not realize they were interrupting a game until a man began chasing them,” the police recap says. “The father of the juvenile who was grabbed was advised of the incident and will decide if he wishes to pursue assault charges.”

In an unrelated incident, the VPD is investigating a spate of reported vehicle break-ins that occurred at the Westwood Country Club yesterday (Thursday) afternoon:

Grand Larceny 23-005642
Westwood Country Club
800 Maple Avenue, East
June 15 2:49 p.m.
A citizen reported someone entered his unlocked vehicle and stole his Titleist bag which contained clothes, a toiletries bag, and a therapy massage gun.

Grand Larceny 23-005638
Westwood Country Club
800 Maple Avenue, East
June 15 between 2:50 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
A citizen reported she left her purse in her locked vehicle in the parking lot while dropping her son off at the country club. An unknown person smashed the window and stole her purse which contained U.S. currency, credit cards, gift cards, and other various paperwork and belongings.

Grand Larceny 23-005640
Westwood Country Club
800 Maple Avenue, East
June 15 3:49 p.m.
An employee reported someone smashed the driver’s side window of his vehicle and stole his wallet containing various identification, credit, and debit cards.

Vienna Police (file photo)

Vienna police are searching for a person who robbed a postal worker while armed with a knife and pepper spray on Friday (June 2).

Officers responded around 11:50 a.m. to a U.S. Postal Service employee’s report that they had been robbed in the 500 block of Church Street NE, the Town of Vienna Police Department said in a news release that afternoon.

“The employee stated the suspect displayed a knife and demanded the employee’s keys,” the VPD said. “The employee complied and gave up their United States Postal Service mailbox key. The suspect then proceeded to pepper spray the employee before fleeing the scene on foot.”

The worker was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

The department is seeking assistance from the public in the case, asking for potential eyewitnesses or video footage of the encounter.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the USPS, is collaborating with Vienna police on the investigation.

The VPD asks anyone with possible information to contact its public information officer, Juan Vazquez, at 703-255-6366.

Additional details about the robbery, including any identifying information for the suspect, weren’t immediately available.

A Vienna Police car on Mill Street (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Town of Vienna Police Department will once again usher in summer with a hardline approach to stop sign violations.

The department launched a campaign today (Thursday) that will see officers step up their enforcement of traffic safety laws, especially those governing stop signs, after seeing “a noticeable increase in such violations.”

“For the entire month of June, we have taken the initiative to address the repeated violations that have been reported by both residents and Town of Vienna staff members,” VPD Public Information Officer Juan Vasquez said.

Like in a similar campaign organized last June, the crackdown will involve a particular focus on drivers who roll through or ignore stop signs:

Officers will be actively present to issue tickets and remind drivers about the importance of coming to a complete stop when approaching a stop sign. Whether facing a solid or flashing red light, drivers must stop before entering the crosswalk, intersection, or stop line. It’s worth noting that, under certain circumstances, a stop sign violation can be cited as reckless driving.

Motorists who receive a ticket for a stop sign or red light violation will face a fine and three demerit points on their driving record. The Vienna Police Department emphasizes the need for defensive driving, courteous behavior, and strict adherence to all traffic laws to ensure safe arrival at destinations.

Virginia law defines reckless driving as anyone who drives a vehicle “in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person,” which can include a failure to yield the right-of-way.

Reckless driving is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries maximum punishments of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. It can be elevated to a Class 6 felony if the driver doesn’t have a valid license and the incident resulted in another person’s death.


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