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VIRGINIA EXPERIENCES DECREASE IN 2018 MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TRAFFIC DEATHS

RICHMOND – Virginia experienced its fewest number of traffic deaths during the 2018 Memorial Day weekend - the lowest within at least the past five years. Preliminary reports indicate six traffic deaths occurred on Virginia highways during this year’s statistical counting period, which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 25, 2018) and concluded at midnight Monday (May 28, 2018).

 "This decrease in the Memorial Day weekend traffic fatalities and the slowing of traffic deaths for 2018 are both proof that we can save lives on Virginia’s highways by working together,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The Virginia State Police, in collaboration with our local police and sheriff’s offices, will continue our stepped up education and enforcement efforts as we head into the busy summer travel months. We simply ask for Virginians to do their part by always buckling up, complying with speed limits, driving distraction free and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

This year’s six holiday fatal crashes occurred in the City of Newport News, and the counties of Chesterfield, Grayson, Nelson, Pittsylvania and Rockbridge. The Newport News crash claimed the life of an adult male operating a dirt bike on Warwick Boulevard. Of the remaining five fatal crashes, four involved individuals who were not wearing seat belts. Three of those unsecured individuals were ejected when the vehicle they were riding in overturned as it crashed.

During the 2018 Memorial Day weekend, the Virginia State Police once again participated in the Operation Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation CARE is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. As a result of troopers’ increased presence on the highways during the heavily-traveled holiday weekend, 99 impaired drivers were arrested and charged with DUI. In addition, state troopers cited 8,004 speeders and 2,360 reckless drivers. State police also cited 1,038 occupant restraint violations, with 210 of those issued to adults for failing to safely secure a juvenile passenger in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

The Virginia State Police is continuing its enforcement efforts related to the ongoing “Click It or Ticket” campaign.  The two-week concentrated education and enforcement initiative began May 21, 2018, and runs through Sunday, June 3, 2018. Of the 843 total traffic deaths in 2017 throughout Virginia, 351 were unrestrained.

VIRGINIA’S ANNUAL CRIME ANALYSIS REPORT NOW AVAILABLE ON VIRGINIA STATE POLICE WEBSITE

RICHMOND – Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2017 is now available to the public on the Virginia State Police website. The annual “Crime in Virginia” report provides precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the Commonwealth. The report breaks down criminal offenses by the reporting agency as well as arrests by jurisdiction.

Overall, Virginia experienced a 3.9 percent decrease in violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) compared to the previous reporting period. The FBI’s figures for 2017 are not yet available. However, comparing the first six months of 2016 with the first six months of 2017, nationwide, violent crimes decreased less than 1 percent (0.8%).

Property crime in Virginia, including the offenses of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, also decreased when compared to the previous year (- 2.6%). Although the FBI’s data for 2017 is not yet available, comparing the first six months of 2016 with the first six months of 2017, nationwide, there was a 2.9 percent decrease.

The following 2017 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:

The number of reported homicides decreased from 480 to 455 or (-5.2%). Victims and offenders tended to be relatively young: 48 percent of homicide victims and 64 percent of offenders were less than 30 years of age. Victims and offenders were most likely to be male (72%, 86% respectively).

Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 3.9 percent compared to the previous year.  Of the 10,223 motor vehicles stolen, 6,438 or 63 percent were recovered. Of all motor vehicles stolen, trucks had the highest frequency of being recovered (73%) followed by automobiles (68%). Recreational and “other” motor vehicles (motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles, etc.) were least likely to be recovered (49%, 39% respectively). Of all motor vehicles stolen, 43 percent were taken from the residence/home. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $86,025,726.

Drug and narcotic arrests increased when compared to the previous reporting period (15.6%). Where type of drug was known, 71 percent of all drug arrests were for marijuana. Marijuana arrests increased 20.6 percent compared to the previous reporting period. Arrests for heroin and crack cocaine decreased (-3.2%, -3.0% respectively). Arrests for powder cocaine and amphetamines/methamphetamines increased (14.2%, 22.7% respectively).

Fraud offenses decreased almost 4 percent (-3.8) compared to 2016.

Of the 809 arsons and attempted arsons that were reported, nearly half (48.5%) reported the location as “residence/home.” Neither the time of the day nor the day of the week appears to be associated with this offense.

Robbery decreased 10 percent. Of the 4,320 robberies and attempted robberies 42 percent took place between 8 p.m. and midnight. Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place although more took placeon Friday and Saturday than any other days of the week.

Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 74.6 percent of homicides and 58.2 percent of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offense of aggravated assault (27.3%).   

There were 202 hate crimes reported in 2017 representing a 47.4 percent increase compared to 2016. Over half (54%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward religion and sexual orientation were next highest (22%, 19%, respectively). The remaining 5 percent reported was attributed to a bias against a victim’s physical or mental disability. Of all reported bias motivated crime, 46 percent was associated with destruction/damage/vandalism of property; another 40.6 percent was associated with the offense of assault.     

The report employs an Incident Based Reporting (IBR) method for calculating offenses, thus allowing for greater accuracy. IBR divides crimes into two categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault), property crimes and drug offenses, and Group B for what are considered less serious offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest has occurred.

For Group A offenses, between 2016 and 2017, adult arrests increased 4.3 percent. Juvenile arrests for Group A offenses also increased (1.6%). For Group B arrests, there was an increase of 1.8 percent for adults while juvenile Group B arrests decreased 9.9 percent. For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 282,987 arrests in 2017 compared to 276,144 arrests in 2016, representing an overall increase in arrests in Virginia of 2.5 percent.

Per state mandate, the Department of Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices. The data are collected by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division via a secured internet system. This information is then compiled into Crime in Virginia, an annual report for use by law enforcement, elected officials, media and the general public. These data become the official crime statistics for the Commonwealth and sent to the FBI incorporating them into their annual report, Crime in the United States.

MOTORISTS URGED TO PUT TRAFFIC SAFETY ON THEIR TRAVEL AGENDA THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – As travelers plan their vacations and pack their bags for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Virginia State Police is urging motorists to make sure traffic safety is at the top of their agenda. Already this year, 280 individuals, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and motorcyclists, have lost their lives in traffic crashes. The startling number comes on the heels of an almost 11 percent increase in traffic deaths during 2017.  

“Last year, 843 people were killed on Virginia’s highways. On average, that’s more than two people a day, 16 people a week and 70 people a month. But no matter how you count these tragic incidents, there are just too many,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The sad fact is that many traffic crashes are preventable, but in order to prevent them we all have to do our part by buckling up, complying with speed limits, eliminating distractions and never driving impaired.”

To ensure the Memorial Day holiday is as safe as possible, Virginia State Police will increase patrols during the long holiday weekend. Beginning Friday, May 25, 2018, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2018 Memorial Day statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 25, 2018, and continues through midnight Monday, May 28, 2018.

During the 2017 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 109 drunk drivers, cited 10,337 speeders and 2,395 reckless drivers, and issued 250 citations for child seat violations. They also cited 820 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt.

The 2018 Memorial Day weekend falls during the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, and state police troopers will be vigilant in their efforts to increase seat belt usage for travelers of all ages. The two-week concentrated education and enforcement initiative began last Monday and runs through Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Of the 843 total traffic deaths last year throughout Virginia, 351 were unrestrained.

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

From 2008 to 2017 nationwide, 126 law enforcement officers working along the roadside were struck by a vehicle because a driver failed to heed the “Move Over” law.

To raise awareness of this law and the impact it has on first responders and highway safety workers, Virginia State Police has coordinated the 2nd Annual National “Move Over” Tweet-Along. Over a 24-hour period on Friday, May 25, 2018, public safety agencies, departments of transportation and numerous other local and state agencies from across the country will inundate Twitter with the “Move Over” message using hashtag #MoveOver18. 

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE DEDICATE HELIPAD TO HONOR TROOPER-PILOT KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN 2017

RICHMOND – Two Virginia governors joined more than 200 family and friends Wednesday (April 18, 2018) to formally dedicate and name the helipad at the Virginia State Police administrative headquarters in Chesterfield County. Governor Ralph Northam and former Governor Terry McAuliffe, along with Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and the family of Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates unveiled the new sign that designates the helipad in Bates’ memory.

(Pictured L-R) Virginia Deputy Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security Ryant Washington, Governor Ralph Northam, Fmr. Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security Brian Moran and Colonel Gary Settle with Trooper-Pilot Bates’ wife, Amanda, and their children.

“The Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates Helipad will serve as a lasting tribute to Berke’s incredible spirit and legacy as a public safety professional, aviator, father, son, brother, and friend,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This memorial will be seen by those visiting our administrative headquarters and Academy. It is also rightly located just across the way from the very Academy doors Berke proudly walked through in January 2004 to begin his career as a Virginia State Police trooper. We hope this simple, but meaningful, tribute brings added and lasting comfort to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

Bates, 40, and the State Police Aviation Unit Commander, Lt. H. Jay Cullen III, became the Department’s 64th and 65th Virginia State Police line of duty deaths when their helicopter crashed Aug. 12, 2017, in Albemarle County. The Department dedicated its Chesterfield Aviation Base and Headquarters in Lt. Cullen’s memory in February 2018.

Trooper-Pilot Bates was born in Manassas, Va. and graduated from Brentsville District Middle-Senior High School in Nokesville, Va. in 1994. He served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol from 1998 until he joined the Virginia State Police in 2004. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy on August 27, 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. His first assignment was in Virginia State Police Richmond Division’s Area 8 Office, which encompasses the City of Richmond and Henrico County. Less than a year later he became a member of the office’s Motors Unit, serving as a motorcycle trooper until 2013. He joined the Governor’s protection detail, known as the State Police Executive Protective Unit, in October 2013 and served with the unit for three years before accepting promotion to Special Agent with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office General Investigations Section. In July 2017, he became a Trooper-Pilot with the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit. Bates is survived by his wife, twin 12-year-old son and daughter, parents, and siblings.

The Virginia State Police initiated an aviation program in 1946 with four trooper-pilots who voluntarily worked on as an-needed basis and the acquisition of three Aeronca Chief 11AC airplanes. Helicopters were added to the fleet in 1970. The Department established an official Aviation Unit in 1984, which was the same year the Virginia General Assembly authorized funding for the creation of the Med-Flight program. Today the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit has 16 trooper-pilots, 13 flight nurses, 12 flight paramedics and four full and part-time mechanics assigned to its bases in Chesterfield, Lynchburg and Abingdon. The unit is equipped with three Bell 407 helicopters, two Airbus EC-145 helicopters, two Cessna 182 Skylanes and one Cessna 206 Stationair.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into the fatal helicopter crash remains ongoing at this time.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE AVIATION HANGAR DEDICATED IN HONOR OF FORMER COMMANDER

 

Chesterfield Aviation Base Named for Lt. H. Jay Cullen

RICHMOND – Close to 200 family, friends and colleagues gathered Wednesday (Feb. 7, 2018) at the Virginia State Police Chesterfield Aviation Base to honor the life and sacrifice of Lt. H. Jay Cullen III. Cullen and his co-pilot, Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, became the Department’s 64th and 65th Virginia State Police line of duty deaths when their helicopter crashed Aug. 12, 2017, in Albemarle County.

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe and former First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe attended the ceremony, during which the state police officially dedicated and renamed the hangar to the “Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen Hangar.” Cullen spent 18 of his 24 years with the Virginia State Police assigned to the Department’s Aviation Unit. When he was promoted to sergeant in 2005, he reported to the Chesterfield Aviation Base and remained at that facility as he advanced through the ranks to become the unit commander.

“Lt. Cullen had one goal as the Aviation Unit Commander and that was to make the unit the best it could possibly be,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “And he succeeded through his exemplary leadership, professionalism, integrity and fortitude. Dedicating his name to this Chesterfield Aviation Base hangar is just one more way for the Department to demonstrate its sincere appreciation for the sacrifices Jay and his family have made all these years in order to support and fulfill the missions of the Aviation Unit and Virginia State Police.”

State police initiated an aviation program in 1946 with four trooper-pilots who voluntarily worked on as an-needed basis and the acquisition of three Aeronca Chief 11AC airplanes. Helicopters were added to the fleet in 1970. The Department established an official Aviation Unit in 1984, which was the same year the Virginia General Assembly authorized funding for the creation of the Med-Flight program. Today the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit has 16 trooper-pilots, 13 flight nurses, 12 flight paramedics and four full and part-time mechanics assigned to its bases in Chesterfield, Lynchburg and Abingdon. The unit is equipped with three Bell 407 helicopters, two Airbus EC-145 helicopters, two Cessna 182 Skylanes and one Cessna 206 Stationair.

In March, the Department will dedicate and name its helipad at the Virginia State Police Administrative Headquarters in Chesterfield County to honor and pay tribute to Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into the fatal helicopter crash remains ongoing at this time.

 

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen (1969 – 2017) Bio:

Lieutenant Cullen was born in Winchester County, N.Y., and graduated from Germantown High School in Memphis, Tenn., in 1987. Prior to joining the Virginia State Police in 1993, he worked as a flight instructor in Front Royal, Va. and Winchester, Va. He held a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

He graduated from the Virginia State Police Training Academy as a member of the 90th Basic Session on May 13, 1994. His first patrol assignment upon graduation was in Virginia State Police Fairfax Division’s Area 9 Office in Fairfax. In 1999, he joined the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot at the Virginia State Police Aviation Base in Manassas and has been assigned to Aviation Unit ever since.

The following year he was transferred to the Lynchburg Aviation Base, where in 2003 he achieved the rank of Senior Trooper. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2005 and assumed his new role at the Virginia State Police Aviation Base in Chesterfield County.

In 2007, he was named acting First Sergeant at the Chesterfield base. He was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant in 2012 and then became acting Lieutenant at the base that December.

He was a 2014 graduate of the National Criminal Justice Command College at the University of Virginia. In February 2017, he attained the rank of Lieutenant and became commander of the Aviation Unit. 

Lt. Cullen is survived by his wife and two teenage sons.

NEW YEAR WELCOMES NEW LEADERSHIP WITHIN VIRGINIA STATE POLICE

New Superintendent & Bureau Director Fill Leadership Roles

RICHMOND – On Thursday, January 18, 2018, Lt. Colonel Gary T. Settle was sworn in as Superintendent of the Virginia State Police. Settle replaces retiring Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, who served the past 14 years as the State Police Superintendent upon his appointment to colonel in 2003 by then-Governor Mark R. Warner. Lt. Colonel Tracy S. Russillo will continue serving as Deputy Superintendent and Major Timothy D. Lyon will take the position of Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as vacated by Settle’s promotion.

 

As Superintendent, Colonel Settle leads and manages all aspects of the Department of State Police including the Office of Performance Management and Internal Controls (OPMIC), Office of Internal Affairs, Public Relations Office, Executive Protective Unit, Bureau of Administrative and Support Services (BASS), Bureau of Field Operations (BFO), and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). State police has an authorized workforce of 2,118 sworn and 848 civilian personnel, and an authorized $340-million general-fund, operating budget for fiscal year 2018. Settle is the Department’s 13th Superintendent since T.K. Sexton was appointed to the position in 1932.

“I am most humbled and grateful for this extraordinary privilege awarded me by Governor Northam,” said Col. Settle. “As Superintendent, I am committed to not only continuing the Department’s proud traditions and esteemed reputation, but to also prepare and advance our personnel, programs, policies, technologies, training, and equipment to sustain and meet the demands of an ever-changing society. I acknowledge these challenges and will accept nothing less of myself than to serve this Commonwealth and the proud men and women of the Virginia State Police with valor, service, pride, and integrity.”

During his 32 years of service in law enforcement, Settle has served the Commonwealth of Virginia at the state and local levels in a myriad of public safety capacities. He was appointed to Director of BCI in January 2017 and had served as its Deputy Director since July 2015. The Rappahannock County native graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in 1986 as class president of the 78th Basic Session. His first patrol assignment was in Frederick and Clarke counties in the State Police Culpeper Division. During his tenure with State Police, he has served as a Tactical Team supervisor, narcotics special agent, firearms instructor, and served on the State Police Honor Guard. His assignments have included the State Police Culpeper and Wytheville Divisions. In addition to his progression through the supervisory ranks of State Police, Settle also has the invaluable, administrative experience of having served as Sheriff for Rappahannock County from 1996 to 2000. He earned a Master’s degree in Homeland Security and Defense from the Naval Postgraduate School and a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Criminal Justice from Bluefield College. He is also a graduate of the FBI Executive Management Course and the National Criminal Justice Command College of the UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

 

Effective Jan. 10, 2018, was the appointment of Major Lyon to Director of BCI. Lyon was appointed Deputy Director of BCI in February 2017 from his position as the BCI commander for the State Police Salem Field Office. Lyon began his career with the State Police upon graduation from the Academy in February 1986. His first assignment as a trooper was in the Wytheville Division and upon his promotion to special agent in 1989, he transferred to the BCI Chesapeake Field Office. During his tenure with State Police, Lyon has progressed through the BCI ranks at the Salem Field Office as a special agent, narcotics task force coordinator, first sergeant and lieutenant in both the General Investigations and Drug Enforcement sections. In 2011, he was appointed to Captain and has served as the commander of both the BCI Appomattox and Salem Field Offices. The Carroll County native graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in Police Administration. He is also a 2004 graduate of the FBI National Academy and completed a six-month fellowship with the FBI’s Police Executive Fellowship Program where he served on the National Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Lyon is a founding member of the Eastern Kentucky University’s Association of Security/Loss Prevention. He earned the Virginia State Police Superintendent’s Award of Merit for his superior response and leadership during the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech massacre and criminal investigation.

10 a.m. Update on VSP Response in Winter Snow

Highways across much of western and central Virginia continue to be impacted by the falling snow in those regions.

As 10:15 a.m., Wednesday (Jan. 17), Virginia State Police troopers are responding to 61 traffic crashes and 6 disabled vehicles statewide:

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)

Traffic Crashes= 7

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)

Traffic Crashes=6

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)

Traffic Crashes=16

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)

Traffic Crashes=8

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)

Traffic Crashes=2

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)

Traffic Crashes=17

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)

Traffic Crashes=3

The majority of the traffic crashes reported only involve damage to vehicles.

For road conditions, Virginians are reminded to use the VDOT 511 system. Please do not call 911 or #77 to ask about road conditions, as these are emergency numbers and need to remain open to emergency calls.

Those who do have to travel today are advised to…

  • Make sure all windows and lights are clear of snow before heading out.
  • Always buckle up – driver and all passengers.
  • Drive distraction free – put down the phone and coffee and keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
  • Slow speed for conditions.
  • Use headlights to increase your visibility and to help other drivers see you better.
  • Share the road responsibly with VDOT vehicles and emergency vehicles.

VSP Winter Storm Update 4:30 pm

As temperatures are now on the steady decline and winds are kicking up, State Police are still advising motorists to delay any unnecessary travel into the evening and overnight hours…especially in the Hampton Roads, Tidewater, Eastern Shore, Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, Southside Virginia and the Metro-Richmond regions.

Drifting snow continues to be a serious hazard in the impacted areas, as well as slick, slushy roadways – which will refreeze overnight. Fortunately, there are still no reported traffic deaths and the majority of the crashes continue to only involve only damage to vehicles and no injuries.

State police in the impacted field divisions – Richmond and Chesapeake - will extend shifts as necessary through Thursday afternoon and evening to ensure the availability of personnel to continue to respond to incidents. Combined, State Troopers assigned to these two divisions responded to 902 calls for service, to include 356 traffic crashes and 409 disabled/stuck vehicles.

VA State Police Senior Trooper A.D. Montross’ view this morning while responding to a vehicle stuck in a snowdrift on Route 13 along the Eastern Shore. Trooper Montross reported white-out conditions and 50 mph winds.

VA State Police Trooper C.D. Compton spent his day responding to crashed and stuck vehicles – just like this one- along Interstate 64 in the James City County/Williamsburg area.

From 8:00 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 3) through 4:00 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 4), the most traffic crashes and disabled vehicles calls for service have occurred within the Virginia State Police Chesapeake Division:

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)

  • Traffic Crashes=218
  • Disabled Vehicles=121
  • Total VSP emergency calls for service responded to: 429

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)

  • Traffic Crashes=138
  • Disabled Vehicles 288
  • Total VSP emergency calls for service responded to: 473

As of 4:30 p.m., Thursday:

Richmond Division troopers are responding to 11 reported traffic crashes and 1 disabled vehicle call.

Chesapeake Division troopers are responding to 3 reported traffic crashes and 12 disabled vehicle calls.

We want to remind Virginians to please call 511 or go to www.511virginia.org for road conditions and not 911 or #77. We need to keep emergency lines open for emergency calls.

We are still asking Virginians to delay their travel until later today. But, if you MUST travel…then please take the following safety precautions:

  • Clear off ALL snow and ice from your vehicle – windows, roof, trunk and lights            
  • Add extra time to reach travel destination
  • Slow speed for road conditions
  • Increase driving distances between vehicles for increased stopping distance
  • Buckle up and don’t drive distracted
  • MOVE OVER for all stopped emergency vehicles, highway vehicles and tow trucks.

VIRGINIA 2019 INSPECTION STICKERS TO BE RELOCATED ON VEHICLE WINDSHIELD

RICHMOND – Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Virginia state inspection stickers will no longer be affixed to the bottom center of a vehicle’s windshield. Due to new innovations in the automotive industry, the state inspection stickers will be placed in the bottom left corner of the windshield, when viewed from inside the vehicle. This change in location will also apply to the placement of any other authorized stickers. There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.

The relocation stems from the fact that automobile manufacturers now offer crash avoidance technology in many of their vehicles.  In such vehicles, the new technology utilizes the center of the windshield. Therefore the placement of items in that area, including stickers, could prevent crash avoidance systems from operating properly.

“The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” said Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander. “Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”

 

Existing Virginia vehicle inspection stickers are to remain in their current position – in the bottom center of the windshield. Once a vehicle is inspected and issued a 2019 sticker, the new inspection sticker must be placed in the lower left corner, which is consistent with other states across the nation.

The Virginia State Police Safety Division began Dec. 2, 2017, notifying all Virginia certified inspections stations of the placement change that is to take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

10 DIE IN TRAFFIC CRASHES ON VIRGINIA HIGHWAYS OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

2017 Proving to be Deadlier than 2016 for Traffic Crashes

RICHMOND – With overall traffic fatalities already on the increase, the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend proved to be a deadly one for 10 individuals traveling on Virginia’s highways. During the holiday statistical counting period, which began Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continued through midnight Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, traffic crashes claimed the lives of eight drivers, one passenger and a pedestrian. As of Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, there have been 737 reported traffic deaths in Virginia, compared to 664 this date last year.

“The increase in fatal crashes throughout this year is troubling and should be of serious concern to all Virginians,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Tragically, there will be at least 700 families heading into the holiday season mourning the loss of a loved one because of a traffic crash on a Virginia highway. Let’s make these remaining weeks of 2017 safer for everyone by buckling up and driving smart, safe, sober and distraction-free.”

The Thanksgiving fatal crashes occurred in the City of Richmond and the counties of Appomattox, Augusta, Bedford, Caroline, Fairfax and Spotsylvania. Two of the crashes, including the pedestrian crash, occurred in the City of Richmond, and two other fatal crashes occurred in Fairfax County. Two drivers lost their lives in a two-vehicle, head-on crash in Augusta County.

In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

During the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:

  • Cited 8,016 speeders
  • Cited 2,465 reckless drivers
  • Arrested 102 drunken drivers
  • Cited 589 safety belt violations & 205 child restraint violations
  • Investigated 998 traffic crashes, in which nine were fatal
  • Assisted 2,635 disabled motorists

The Virginia State Police will also this year be participating in the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) “Tie One on for Safety” campaign, which discourages drunk and drugged driving during the winter holidays.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGES MOTORISTS TO DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES THIS THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

RICHMOND – Traveling to spend time with family is a holiday tradition, and as millions hit the road this Thanksgiving, Virginia State Police urges motorists to drive to save lives so everyone arrives safely for the celebration.

Within the past two weeks, traffic crashes in Virginia have claimed the lives of 35 drivers and passengers, and nine pedestrians. From Jan. 1, 2017, to Nov. 16, 2017, preliminary reports indicate traffic crashes statewide have resulted in 710 deaths; compared to 640 deaths during the same timeframe in 2016.

“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”

To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. As a participating agency, state police will increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth beginning Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017.

During last year’s Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:

  • Cited 9,235 speeders
  • Cited 2,928 reckless drivers
  • Arrested 132 drunken drivers
  • Cited 824 safety belt violations & 286 child restraint violations
  • Investigated 1,163 traffic crashes, in which eight were fatal

With additional troopers and other law enforcement working on Virginia’s highways this holiday weekend, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. A life-saving law intended to protect public safety responders and others who have a responsibility to work the roads. Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE PRODUCE OPIOID/HEROIN AWARENESS VIDEOS TO HELP STEM ABUSE & OVERDOSES

Alleghany County Sheriff Provides Testimonial to Tragedy of Addiction

RICHMOND – From March through July of this year, medical emergency departments across the Commonwealth each month have fielded more than 700 visits by Virginia residents for treatment for unintentional opioid/heroin or unspecified substance overdoses. Of those 700 overdose visits, approximately 160 resulted from heroin usage in June and another 150 in July. In the first half of 2016, fatal drug overdoses across the state increased by 35 percent.*

Even grimmer than the statistics are the stories behind each life impacted by an overdose and/or death related to opioid and heroin addictions. As a member agency of Governor McAuliffe’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, the Virginia State Police has taken an active role in coordinating with federal, state and local law enforcement, public health agencies and first responders across the Commonwealth to combat, prevent and investigate opioid and heroin abuse and illegal distribution. Such efforts led to the collaboration of Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Drug Enforcement Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) C. Scott Wade and Alleghany County Sheriff Kevin W. Hall to collaborate on a video that tells the story of Sheriff Hall’s son, Ryan, and his battle with addiction. “Broken Dreams,” an emotional video testimony of the purposeful struggle to overcome addiction and persevere, is told from the deeply-personal perspectives of both Sheriff Hall and Ryan.

“This isn’t a story, it’s the real life account of what a young man and his family have had to go through in order to get their son and their lives back,” said SAA Wade, coordinator of the Eastern Shore Drug Task Force. “The fact that this is the child of a sheriff may be unique, but his story of addiction, the consequences and his daily struggle with staying drug-free are not. There are thousands across the Commonwealth in the same situation.”

The second video, “No Second Chance,” debuted recently on the Eastern Shore and follows the tragic consequences of a 20-year-old Accomack County woman who died from a heroin overdose in July 2016. Her mother and grandmother share their firsthand struggles to overcome the grief of losing a loved one at such a young age to heroin.

SSA Wade is working to have the videos integrated into opioid/heroin prevention programs across the Commonwealth and shown before audiences of all ages in schools, drug-prevention programs, treatment facilities, and community and civic groups statewide. “We cannot begin soon enough to further spread the message about the severely-addictive nature of opioids and heroin. The impact of opioid and heroin abuse is being felt in every corner of the Commonwealth. This video is designed to initiate discussion among parents and their children, teachers, law enforcement, medical professionals, and communities about what it’s going to take to stop and prevent the overdoses and deaths afflicting and overwhelming so many Virginians.”

Both videos can be downloaded from the VSP YouTube page:

Broken Dreams, Ruined Lives(Alleghany County) - https://youtu.be/f4g4AwKv2Hk

No Second Chance(Eastern Shore) - https://youtu.be/pW-_1QjeGLo

NEARLY 4,800 TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS & ARRESTS MADE DURING EAST COAST ‘DRIVE 2 SAVE LIVES’ SAFETY INITIATIVE

650+ Summonses & Arrests by Virginia State Troopers

RICHMOND – A two-day “Drive to Save Lives” traffic safety initiative that spanned 15 states along the Interstate 95 corridor last week resulted in more than 650 total traffic summonses and arrests by Virginia State Police.

On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21, 2017, Virginia troopers cited 195 speeders and 61 drivers were charged with aggressive driving or other dangerous moving violations. Troopers also cited 35 motorists for failing to wear a seat belt and another 14 for child restraint violations. A total of 11 drunk drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by troopers. Other citations issued include inspection violations, equipment violations, expired safety inspections for commercial vehicles and size or weight violations.

In addition, Virginia troopers apprehended 21 wanted persons and made 42 criminal arrests.

Virginia State Police troopers dedicated nearly 2,300 hours to the stepped up patrol and enforcement efforts along the 179 miles of I-95 that stretch across Virginia from the border of North Carolina to Maryland.

“Traffic deaths are already up 12 percent this year over last and with the holiday travel season just weeks away, we cannot reinforce the ‘Drive to Save Lives’ message strongly enough,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Between October and December, crash numbers can jump by as many as 1,600 per month. With the increased potential for crashes on our highways, it’s incredibly important that all drivers do their part to buckle up, drop the distractions and make safety a priority.”

As of Oct. 27, 2017, there have been 662 reported traffic deaths on Virginia highways. On the same date in 2016, there were 584 reported traffic fatalities, which means 78 more persons have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year than last on Virginia’s roads.

During the multi-state “Drive to Save Lives” initiative, troopers across the 15 participating states affected a total of 4,776 traffic summonses and arrests, including 1,839 for speeding. Nearly 250 motorists were cited for seat belt violations and another 505 received citations for violations related to their driver’s license or registration. Troopers arrested 53 drivers along the I-95 corridor for drunk driving.

Other agencies that participated in the East Coast I-95 traffic enforcement operation are State Police and Highway Patrol agencies from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Funds generated from traffic summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION WITH THREE AWARDS

RICHMOND – Virginia State Police was honored with three awards during the 2017 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference held this week in Philadelphia.

Colonel Steve Flaherty, Superintendent and 40-year veteran of the Virginia State Police, received the prestigious J. Stannard Baker Award, which is awarded annually to a law enforcement professional who has made a significant lifetime contribution to highway safety.

The Department also received two awards recognizing its Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program and its support and assistance during a multi-agency investigation into a terrorist threat. 

The Leadership in the Prevention of Vehicle Crimes Award

Established in 1992, the HEAT program provides training and support to local law enforcement agencies, including grant funding, and works with citizens to spread awareness about auto theft prevention.

The HEAT program launched an aggressive digital media campaign in 2016 that focused on auto theft prevention education. HEAT utilized its Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website to spread the message, “Take your keys or take your chances” as well as purchasing digital banner advertisements on a variety of websites. The digital campaign, which peaked during July 2016 (also Auto Theft Awareness Month), generated more than 2,300 visits to HEATreward.com that month. HEAT also released two videos during the campaign, and those have nearly 65,000 views as of October 2017.

The Booz Allen Hamilton Leadership in the Prevention of Terrorism Award

In summer 2016, Virginia State Police personnel working with the FBI Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force took part in a multi-agency terrorism investigation, which resulted in the arrest of Mohammed Bailor (Jalloh), age 26, for attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization.

A former member of the Virginia Army National Guard, Jalloh came to the attention of authorities in April 2016. Investigation revealed that he had intentions of conducting or assisting in a terrorist attack. After months of surveillance and information gathering, Jalloh was arrested on July 3, 2016. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release.

The J. Stannard Baker Award

During his four decades with the Virginia State Police, Colonel Flaherty has left an indelible mark on highway safety in Virginia and beyond. Since his appointment to Superintendent on October 1, 2003, Colonel Flaherty has proven himself as an experienced, respected, and innovative leader committed to the safety of the people of Virginia. 

As an Assistant Safety Officer and safety Officer in the VSP Safety Division, Colonel Flaherty collaborated with car manufacturers, motor vehicle and trucking associations and numerous other specialty agencies to develop and publish uniform national and international vehicle inspection standards and specifications.

In 2000, as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Field Operations, Colonel Flaherty was instrumental in the design, development, and implementation of all BFO operational plans, administrative programs, and highway safety strategies that refined operations, enhanced services, and ensured fair and equal application of the law. One such program implemented under his leadership is the highly-effective “Operation Air, Land & Speed” traffic enforcement effort on Virginia’s interstates, utilizing off-duty troopers to augment high-visibility patrols.

As General Chair of the State & Provincial Police Division of the IACP, he was a driving force behind the development and implementation of the U.S.-wide “Drive to Save Lives” traffic safety campaign in 2014. Unprecedented in its support by state police and highway patrol leaders, police chiefs, and sheriffs, the traffic-safety initiative aimed to not only reduce traffic deaths by 15 percent, but to also improve officer safety on U.S.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE DEBUT “MOVE OVER” VIDEO AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

MARTINSVILLE, Va.  – The Virginia State Police debuted Tuesday (Oct. 24) a new safety video highlighting the “Move Over” law, which will be featured this weekend during the First Data 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway.

“With the dramatic increase in overall traffic deaths (12%) this year in Virginia, it’s important to remember we all have a role in safety on the roads,” said Captain Richard Denney, Salem Division Commander. “Buckling up, putting down the cell phone and never driving while intoxicated should already be part of every driver’s safety routine, and we hope moving over for emergency vehicles will become second nature as well.”

Each day, first responders and highway safety workers across the Commonwealth take on the dangerous task of patrolling and maintaining our highways. Over the past decade (2007-2016), 127 law enforcement officers nationwide have been struck and killed by a vehicle while working along the roadside.*

“Our highway crews put their lives on the line in work zones every day while working to improve travel for motorists in Virginia,” said Lisa Hughes, VDOT Residency Engineer, Martinsville. “They often have only a 12-pound cone separating them from traffic, so motorists who move over when approaching a work zone greatly impacts their safety on the job and their ability to go home to their families at the end of the day.”

Virginia’s “Move Over” law was enacted in 2002 in an effort to protect the men and women committed to safeguarding our highways. It requires drivers to change lanes or, when not able to safely do so, cautiously pass a stopped emergency vehicle, highway work truck or tow truck with flashing red, blue or amber lights.

Filmed in partnership with the Virginia State Police Association, Virginia Department of Transportation, Nationwide Insurance and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, this new video is the centerpiece of a renewed emphasis to heighten awareness of Virginia’s #MoveOver campaign by State Police.

*National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE PARTICIPATE IN EAST COAST DRIVE 2 SAVE LIVES TRAFFIC SAFETY INITIATIVE

15 State Law Enforcement Agencies Focusing on Interstate 95 Safety

RICHMOND – Virginia will be among 15 states to participate in a two-day “Drive to Save Lives” traffic safety initiative that coincides with National Teen Driver Safety Week. On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21, 2017, Virginia State Police will be dedicating additional patrol resources to Interstate 95 traffic enforcement. Motorists can expect to see an increased presence of troopers along Virginia’s entire 179 miles of I-95, from the border of North Carolina to Maryland.

“With traffic deaths in Virginia having dramatically spiked this year in comparison to 2016, this multi-state operation could not come at a more critical time,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Traditionally there is always an increase in the number of traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways during the last three months of the year, so it is even more imperative for every Virginian to ‘Drive to Save Lives’ no matter the distance of one’s travels.”

As of Oct. 19, 2017, there have been 638 reported traffic deaths on Virginia highways. On the same date in 2016, there were 568 reported traffic fatalities, which means 70 more persons have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year than last on Virginia’s roads.

Tragically, 22 of those 2017 traffic deaths in the Commonwealth have been teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age.* With this initiative being held during National Teen Driver Safety Week, it’s important to highlight the fact that half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before they graduate from high school. Also, according to the National Organization for Youth Safety:

  • 66% of teen passengers who die in a crash are NOT wearing a seatbelt
  • 58% of teens involved in crashes are distracted
  • 25% of car crashes involved an underage drinking driver

“Parents and guardians set the example for their children,” said Flaherty. “If the adults buckle up, comply with speed limits and eliminate distractions while driving, then they pass along smart, safe and responsible driving practices for their children and young drivers to emulate.  Let’s prevent crashes and prevent injuries and fatalities by simply driving to save lives.”

Also participating in the East Coast I-95 traffic enforcement operation are State Police and Highway Patrol agencies from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

With increased patrols, State Police also remind drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE GRADUATES 126TH GENERATION OF NEW TROOPERS

RICHMOND – Today, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, the Commonwealth graduates its 126th generation of Virginia State Troopers. The 30 new troopers will be presented their diplomas during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in North Chesterfield County.

The new troopers have received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management. The members of the 126th Basic Session began their 29 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy March 23, 2017.

Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia beginning Oct. 10, 2017, for their final phase of training. Each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

126th BASIC GRADUATING CLASS

New Trooper

Hometown

Assignment

Garrett Wayne Albright

Prince George

Prince George

Zachary Thomas Beaver

Victoria

Accomack

Dennis Robert Bicking, Jr.

Springfield

Arlington

Mark Allen Blankenship

Evington

Northampton

Jay Matthew Boone

Bluefield

Northampton

Lisa Anne Brooks

Lynchburg

Dinwiddie

Billy Kendall Brown

Clintwood

Prince George

Edward Aloysius Burns, III

St. Augustine, Florida

Arlington

Harold Lee Campbell

Nathaniel Cole Chester

Staunton

Jonesville

Rockingham

Greensville

Justin Curtis Clack

Lewiston, Idaho

Arlington

Nathaniel Andrew Dayes

Vinton

Arlington

Joshua Wayne Fowler

Lafayette, New Jersey

Frederick

Matthew John Fox

Roxbury, New Jersey

York

Devin Ryan Goode

Fluvanna

Hanover/Henrico

Christopher William Greene

Stanley

Warren

Mikel Nasef Hana

Richmond

Henrico

Dustin Lee Hayden-Gross

Marion

Dickenson

David Brent Jackson

Gloucester

New Kent

Jose Arturo Macedo

Clifton, New Jersey

Hanover/Henrico

Charles Gerard McKenna, II

Northport, New York

Henrico

Donald Thomas Murphy

Virginia Beach

Norfolk/Virginia Beach

Charles William Patton, Jr.

Dillwyn

Nottoway

Devon Taylor Saul

Gates, North Carolina

Portsmouth/Suffolk/Chesapeake

Jordon Ryan Sluss

Honaker

Tazewell

Alfred Daniel Smith, III

Smithfield

Sussex

John Gregory Sullivan

Stafford

Caroline

Edward Aaron Taylor

Brooklyn, New York

Chesterfield

Isaac Najee Thomas

Roselle, New Jersey

Arlington

Steven Andrew Thompson

Roanoke

Arlington

Virginia State Police welcomes its 127th Basic Session on Oct. 25, 2017. State Police is still accepting applications for its Accelerated Lateral Entry Program (ALEP) which begins in April 2018, as well as for those new to a law enforcement career. Information on both the ALEP and the standard Virginia State Police Trooper-Trainee Academy is available at www.virginiatrooper.org

LABOR DAY HOLIDAY TRAFFIC DEATHS AT RECORD LOW

With all Schools in Session, Virginians Reminded to #Drive2SaveLives

RICHMOND – Virginia witnessed an unprecedented drop in traffic deaths over the 2017 Labor Day weekend with three reported traffic deaths during the four-day holiday statistical counting period. The three fatal crashes occurred in the City of Suffolk and the counties of Appomattox and Frederick. The traffic crashes in Appomattox County and Suffolk each claimed the life of a motorcyclist. During the 2016 Labor Day weekend, there were eight traffic deaths and 16 fatal crashes during the 2015 holiday.

“Despite the encouraging and significant decline in traffic deaths during this past holiday weekend, Virginia is still averaging 50 more traffic deaths this year when compared to 2016,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The Labor Day weekend clearly demonstrates that we can prevent traffic deaths on our highways, so let’s use this as the momentum we need to continue driving down fatal traffic crashes for the remainder of 2017.”

During the holiday weekend, state police participated in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) program. Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints. Through the state police’s stepped up presence on Virginia’s highways over Labor Day, troopers stopped and cited 7,381 speeders and another 2,092 reckless drivers. State police also cited 576 safety belt violations and 181 child safety seat violations. In addition, Virginia troopers assisted 3,205 disabled or stranded motorists, and investigated a total 747 traffic crashes.

State police has also joined nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies across Virginia to launch the 2017 Checkpoint Strikeforcecampaign, sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). During the Labor Day weekend, state police arrested 97 drivers for DUI statewide. The Checkpoint Strikeforce traffic safety initiative and educational outreach continue through the end of the year.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

“We are also reminding all drivers of the importance of responsibly sharing the road with Virginia’s students and school buses, now that all schools across the Commonwealth are in session,” said Col. Flaherty. “For student drivers, whether high school or college, be sure to always buckle up, comply with posted speed limits and never drive distracted. Those students walking to and from school are urged to use sidewalks when available, walk towards traffic and increase your visibility by wearing bright colors, when possible.”

For more information on the latest youth driving tips and campaigns going on in local middle and high schools across the Commonwealth, please click on the Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) Website at http://www.yovaso.org.  

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE ANNOUNCE HISTORIC CHANGE TO TROOPER HIRING PROCESS

VSP Now Hiring for Accelerated Lateral Entry Academy Program

RICHMOND, Va. – As of Sept. 1, 2017, the Virginia State Police is opening its Academy to current Virginia law enforcement interested in attending a new Accelerated Lateral Entry Program (ALEP). This is a first in the Department’s 85-year history to offer an abbreviated State Police Academy for existing Virginia Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS) certified law enforcement officers. Until now, any applicant for state trooper had to complete the full, six-month State Police Academy.

“Virginia State Police has not been immune to today’s challenging environment of having to compete with other law enforcement agencies to attract qualified candidates to join its sworn ranks,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Despite the salary increases provided by the Virginia General Assembly this year, State Police continues to struggle to prevent our sworn personnel from leaving for other agencies and then to fill those growing vacancies in a timely manner. Many of our field divisions across the Commonwealth are currently experiencing vacancy rates of nearly 50 percent.”

Offering an accelerated lateral program has gained in popularity among other state police and highway patrol agencies, as well as many local Virginia police agencies, as an effective method for increasing recruitment of qualified personnel. Virginia State Police are accepting applications for its ALEP as of Sept. 1, 2017, with the Academy class scheduled to begin in April 2018. Training will be an intense eight-week program designed to indoctrinate candidates into the State Police culture and instill its standards of integrity, professionalism, self-discipline, pride, valor and excellence in service. Candidates are paid while attending the ALEP Academy.

Those selected to participate in the State Police ALEP will be hired to a specific vacancy in a particular jurisdiction within the Commonwealth. Qualified candidates accepted to the State Police ALEP will be compensated at a beginning salary of $48,719. In accordance with the established Northern Virginia pay scale, applicants hired to a trooper vacancy in Northern Virginia will be compensated at a beginning salary of $60,587. Upon graduation, candidates are supplied all uniforms and equipment, including a take home car.

Among the qualifications for the ALEP, candidates must be currently employed by a Virginia law enforcement organization, have at least three years of DCJS-certified law enforcement experience, and be a VCIN Level C Operator. As is standard for all sworn applicants, ALEP candidates will undergo an extensive background investigation, to include a polygraph examination.

For additional information on all qualifications, restrictions, height/weight requirements, etc., for the Virginia State Police Accelerated Lateral Entry Program, please go to www.vsp.virginia.gov

WITH TRAFFIC DEATHS SPIKING IN VIRGINIA, STATE POLICE URGING ALL VIRGINIANS TO #DRIVE2SAVELIVES THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – In the past seven days, 15 people have died in traffic crashes on Virginia highways across the Commonwealth. That alarming death toll includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and a 9-year-old bicyclist. Tragically, this year is proving to be a deadly one for Virginia’s highways. As of Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, there have been 529 reported traffic deaths in Virginia, compared to 477 this same date last year.

“The fact that we have lost 50 more lives in traffic crashes this year than in 2016 should be of major concern for all Virginians, especially as we head into the heavily-traveled Labor Day weekend,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “State police will have all available troopers out on patrol for the extended holiday weekend, but we need every driver and passenger committed to also doing their part to make their travels as safe as possible.”

Travelers can expect to see more stationary and roving patrols by Virginia State Police troopers as part of the Department’s participation in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.)program. Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program throughout the Commonwealth began Friday morning, Sep. 1, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 4, 2017.

Last year, Virginia experienced a drop in traffic deaths during the four-day holiday counting period. In 2016, there eight traffic deaths, whereas in 2015 there were 16 fatal crashes during the Labor Day weekend. In addition to investigating 707 total traffic crashes during the 2016 holiday weekend, State Police stopped 8,676 speeders and 2,772 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 739 safety belt violations and 210 child safety seat violations.

Also of concentration this Labor Day weekend is impaired driving. State police is joining nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies to participate in the 2017 Checkpoint Strikeforcecampaign, sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). Last year’s Labor Day weekend netted 101 DUI arrests by Virginia troopers.

“We are encouraging Virginians to ‘Drive to Save Lives’ this holiday weekend and on through the remainder of 2017, so we can hopefully turn around this distressing increase in traffic deaths,” said Colonel Flaherty. “Saving a life happens when you buckle up, don’t drive distracted, share the road, and be responsible by never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” 

NC Fugitives Apprehended in Minnesota; Search for Missing N.C. Man Continues

NELSON COUNTY, Va. - The two fugitives from North Carolina being sought in a Nelson County shooting are now in police custody. Shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Sean D. Castorina and Penny M. Dawson were apprehended by the Fergus Falls, Minn., Police Department. The two were arrested without incident at a gas station within that jurisdiction.

The two will be extradited back to Virginia to face charges of malicious wounding, use of a firearm and grand larceny of a vehicle.

During the past two days, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office, the Nelson County, Va., Sheriff’s Office, Burlington, N.C., Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service have been actively pursuing leads and searching for the couple.

The incident began Aug. 19, 2017, when the Burlington, N.C. Police Department received a report of a missing person. Mr. Harold Dean Simpson, 84, was last seen by his family at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Mr. Simpson’s silver 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt was located by the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office at 6:48 p.m., on Monday, Aug. 21. The vehicle, with North Carolina license plate EMA 8936, had been abandoned on Laurel Road in eastern Nelson County.

During the course of the investigation into the abandoned vehicle, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at approximately 7:30 p.m., Tuesday (Aug. 22) about a shooting victim at a residence on Laurel Road near Rockfish River. When law enforcement arrived on scene, they found a 60-year-old female suffering from a gunshot wound. She continues to be treated at UVA Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., for serious injuries.

After the shooting, Castorina and Dawson fled the residence in a 2002 Dodge Dakota that belonged to the owner of the residence. The two were still driving the stolen pickup truck when apprehended in Minnesota.

The search continues for Mr. Simpson. Anyone with information related to Mr. Simpson’s disappearance is asked to still please contact the Burlington, N.C., Police or call 911 or, in Virginia, call #77 on a cell phone.

SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING NORTH CAROLINA MAN & FUGITIVE COUPLE

     

Click on photos for larger version

NELSON CO., Va. – Virginia State Police and the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Burlington, N.C. Police Department, is still actively searching for the missing 84-year-old man from Burlington, N.C., and the two North Carolina fugitives.

The incident began August 19, 2017, when the Burlington, N.C. Police Department received a report of a missing person. Mr. Harold Dean Simpson, 84, was last seen by his family at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, August 18, 2017. According to the Burlington, N.C. Police Department’s press release, “Mr. Simpson has no history of dementia or other cognitive impairments.”

Mr. Simpson’s silver 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt was located by the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office at 6:48 p.m., on Monday, Aug. 20. The vehicle, with North Carolina license plate EMA 8936, had been abandoned on Laurel Road in eastern Nelson County.

During the course of the investigation into the abandoned vehicle, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at approximately 7:30 p.m., Tuesday (Aug. 22) about a shooting victim at a residence on Laurel Road near Rockfish River. When law enforcement arrived on scene, they found a 60-year-old female suffering from a gunshot wound. She continues to be treated at UVA Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., for serious injuries.

Missing from the same residence is a white 2002 Dodge Dakota with a medium-blue tailgate and custom, faded-red, squared-off bumper. The pickup truck has a North Carolina license plate, DHN 5418, affixed to the bumper.

Based on the investigation into the shooting, Virginia State Police obtained arrest warrants for malicious wounding and use of a firearm for both Sean D. Castorina, 42, of Burlington, N.C., and Penny M. Dawson, 40, of Burlington, N.C.

Castorina is a white male with distinctive tattoos on his forearms. He is approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 lbs. (See photos in previous story here)

Dawson is a white female, 5 feet 3 inches in height and weighs approximately 172 pounds.

The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police are actively searching for Castorina and Dawson. Castorina does have family in Norfolk, Va.

Both are considered armed and dangerous, and should not be approached. Anyone with information about Castorina and/or Dawson and/or the missing pickup truck is encouraged to call 911 or #77 on a cell phone. 

Local & State Police Searching for Two NC Subjects

     

In the late hours of 8/21/2017 the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office responded to an unoccupied suspicious vehicle in the Laurel Road area of Nelson County. The vehicle is registered to an elderly man listed as missing from North Carolina.

Please be on the lookout for Sean Damion Castorina WM- 06/04/1975 and Penny Michelle Dawson WF- 03/07/1977 of Burington, NC. They are wanted for questioning in the suspicious disappearance of an elderly white male from Burlington. There are no active warrants on either subject at this time. Mr. Castorina was last believed to be in Virginia and has family in Norfolk, VA.

As of 7:36 p.m., Tuesday (8/22/17) the Nelson County Sheriff’s and Virginia State police responded to a shooting at the 3000 block of Laurel Rd. This is currently an active crime scene. We are asking all citizens in Nelson County to shelter in place until further notice.

We are currently looking for a person of interest driving a white 2002 Dodge Dakota with a blue tailgate. North Carolina tag DHN-5418

If located contact police immediately, do not attempt to approach, may be armed and dangerous. Call 911 or #77 on a cell phone if you have any information about either subject.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS FINALIZED FOR VIRGINIA STATE POLICE PILOTS

RICHMOND, Va. – Funeral arrangements have been finalized for Virginia State Police Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who died in a helicopter crash in Albemarle County on the afternoon of August 12, 2017:

TROOPER-PILOT BERKE M.M. BATES

Visitation:Thursday, August 17, 2017

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Nelson Funeral Home at 4650 South Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA 23231

Funeral:Friday, August 18, 2017

11:00 a.m.

Saint Paul’s Baptist Church at 4247 Creighton Road, Richmond, VA 23223

The interment will be a private graveside service.

LIEUTENANT H. JAY CULLEN

Visitation:Friday, August 18, 2017

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Bennett Funeral Home at 14301 Ashbrook Parkway, Chesterfield, VA 23832

Funeral:Saturday, August 19, 2017

10:00 a.m.

Southside Church of the Nazarene at 6851 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832

The interment will be a private graveside service.

For those wishing to support the Cullen and/or Bates families financially, contributions are being accepted through the Virginia State Police Association (VSPA) (www.vspa.org) Emergency Relief Fund (ERF). Monetary donations can be made by check (made payable to VSPA-ERF with “Jay Cullen” and/or “Berke Bates” noted in the memo) or Citizens may also donate through PayPal by visiting  http://vspa.org/initiatives/emergency-relief-fund.  When donating through PayPal please be sure to note the donation is for "Lt. Cullen and/or Tpr. Bates" in the comment section. Checks can be mailed to the VSPA ERF at 6944 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, VA 23225. All donations to the VSPA-ERF are tax deductible, and 100% of the donation goes to the families. For any additional questions, please contact the VSPA at 804-320-6272.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE MOURNS DEATH OF TWO PILOTS

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia State Police is mourning the loss of its 64th and 65th members to die in the line of duty since 1932. Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, died last Saturday (Aug. 12, 2017) when the helicopter they were piloting crashed in Albemarle County. Funeral arrangements for both are still pending at this time.

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen (1969 – 2017)

Lieutenant Cullen was born in Winchester County, N.Y., and graduated from Germantown High School in Memphis, Tenn., in 1987. Prior to joining the Virginia State Police in 1993, he worked as a flight instructor in Front Royal, Va. and Winchester, Va. He held a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

He graduated from the Virginia State Police Training Academy as a member of the 90th Basic Session on May 13, 1994. His first patrol assignment upon graduation was in Virginia State Police Fairfax Division’s Area 9 Office in Fairfax. In 1999, he joined the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot at the Virginia State Police Aviation Base in Manassas and has been assigned to Aviation Unit ever since.

The following year he was transferred to the Lynchburg Aviation Base, where in 2003 he achieved the rank of Senior Trooper. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2005 and assumed his new role at the Virginia State Police Aviation Base in Chesterfield County.

In 2007, he was named acting First Sergeant at the Chesterfield base. He was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant in 2012 and then became acting Lieutenant at the base that December.

He is a 2014 graduate of the National Criminal Justice Command College at the University of Virginia. In February 2017, he attained the rank of Lieutenant and became commander of the Aviation Unit. 

Lt. Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons, ages 17 and 15.

Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (1976 – 2017)    

Trooper-Pilot Bates was born in Manassas, Va. and graduated from Brentsville District Middle-Senior High School in Nokesville, Va. in 1994. He served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol from 1998 until he joined the Virginia State Police in 2004. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy on August 27, 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

His first assignment was in Virginia State Police Richmond Division’s Area 8 Office, which encompasses the City of Richmond and Henrico County. Less than a year later he became a member of the office’s Motors Unit, serving as a motorcycle trooper until 2013. He joined the Governor’s protection detail, known as the State Police Executive Protective Unit, in October 2013 and served with the unit for three years before accepting promotion to Special Agent with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office General Investigations Section. In July 2017, he became a Trooper-Pilot with the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit.

Trooper Bates is survived by his wife and twin 12-year-old son and daughter.

Fatal Helicopter Crash in Albemarle County

At 4:51 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 12, 2017), a Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County.  The helicopter was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville.

The pilot, Lt. Cullen of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the state police are investigating the cause of the fatal helicopter crash in Albemarle County. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also investigating the incident.

July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

The Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft program reminds motorists that unsecured vehicles are easy targets

RICHMOND, Va.— Summertime is prime time for auto theft, which is why the Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program is reminding motorists to secure their unattended vehicles.

Of the 9,575 motor vehicle theft offenses in 2016, 3,523 occurred between June and September. For the calendar year, August had the dubious distinction of leading all months with 957 auto theft offenses. July had the second-most offenses with 924. A total of 9,719 motor vehicles were reported stolen in 2016.

First Sgt. Steve Hall, Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program coordinator, said many auto thefts could be avoided if motorists would simply take their keys. Statistics show that nearly one in four vehicles stolen in Virginia have the keys inside.

“That’s a problem,” Hall said. “In addition to taking your keys when you leave your vehicle, don’t leave spare keys in the glove box or elsewhere on the vehicle. Always lock the doors and always close the windows. At night, choose parking spots that are in well-lit and high-traffic areas if you can.”

Drivers should develop good habits and avoid complacency, Hall said, because auto thieves can take a vehicle in just a matter of moments.

“A lot of people think, ‘I’ll only be in the store for a minute, so I’ll just leave the car running,’ ” he said. “Don’t do it. It takes very little time for someone in that situation to jump into your car and drive off.”

Want to beat the summer heat without leaving your vehicle completely vulnerable? Try parking in a garage or shaded area when possible. If no shade is available when parking, block direct sunlight by putting a visor in your windshield or drape a blanket or towel over the dashboard and steering wheel.

“Or give yourself a few extra minutes before your departure so you can stay with your vehicle while you run your air conditioner,” Hall said. “Any of these is a better alternative to potentially having your car stolen.”

Follow HEAT on Facebook (@HEATreward) for summer giveaways and auto theft prevention tips. Upcoming HEAT appearances include a display at AAA’s Summer Car Care Event in Henrico on July 29, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etchings on July 15 (Roanoke); July 29 (Martinsville and Midlothian). Learn more about the HEAT program and VIN-etching events at HEATreward.com.    

TRAFFIC DEATHS INCREASE OVER 2017 FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND

Four killed were not wearing seat belts

RICHMOND – Fatal crash numbers rose during this year’s Fourth of July weekend, and nearly half of the motorists killed in those crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers report a total of nine drivers and passengers died in as many traffic crashes statewide this past holiday weekend. Last year, traffic crashes claimed a total of eight lives on Virginia highways.

The nine fatal traffic crashes occurred in the cities of Norfolk and the counties of Amherst, Dinwiddie, Fairfax, Henrico, Montgomery, Orange, Rockingham and Surry. State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 671 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period.

Of the six passenger vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend, four of those killed were not wearing seat belts. Separate crashes in Norfolk and Fairfax County took the lives of two pedestrians attempting to cross the street. In Rockingham County, a motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, was killed in a head-on collision with drunk driver.

“Sadly, the number of fatalities on our highways increased this year during the holiday, which is unacceptable,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “A moment is all that it takes for a crash to occur, but taking a moment before you drive to put on your seat belt or your helmet, to put the phone down or to make the decision not to drive drunk or drugged could save a life. When we get behind the wheel, we all need to do our part to make our travels as safe as possible.” 

Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) over the holiday weekend, which is a traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and concluded Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like the Fourth of July.

The 2017 Fourth of July Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 10,238 speeders and 2,677 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 992 safety belt violations and 308 child restraint violations. A total of 114 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

Although “Move Over” Awareness Month came to a close in June, Virginia State Police continued to emphasize the importance of the “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching emergency vehicles stopped along the roadside. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass emergency vehicles with active blue, red or amber flashing lights. 

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement. 

VIRGINIA’S ANNUAL CRIME ANALYSIS REPORT NOW AVAILABLE ON VIRGINIA STATE POLICE WEBSITE

RICHMOND – Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2016 is now available on the Virginia State Police website, under “Forms & Publications.” The detailed document, titled Crime in Virginia, provides precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the Commonwealth. The report breaks down criminal offenses by the reporting agency as well as arrests by jurisdiction.

The following 2016 crime figures within Virginia are included in the report:

  • Virginia experienced more than a 10 percent increase in violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) compared to 2015 (10.8%). The FBI’s nationwide figures for 2016 are not yet available.
  • The number of reported homicides increased from 382 to 480 or an increase of 25.7 percent. Victims and Offenders tended to be relatively young; 47.5 percent of homicide victims and 63.5 percent of offenders were less than 30 years of age. Victims and offenders were most likely to be male (78.3% and 91.0% respectively).
  • Property crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) overall remain mostly unchanged from the previous year (-.40%). The FBI’s nationwide figures for 2016 are not yet available.
  • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 18.2 percent compared to the previous year.  Of the 9,719 motor vehicles stolen, 6,049 or 62.2 percent were recovered. Of all motor vehicles stolen, automobiles and trucks had the highest frequency of being recovered (67.8%, 68.0%). Recreational and “other” motor vehicles (motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles, etc.) were least likely to be recovered (50.8%, 40.6%). Four out of 10 (41.5%) of all motor vehicles were reported stolen from the residence/home. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $89,990,458, while the reported value recovered was $53,664,462.
  • Drug and narcotic arrests increased overall compared to the previous reporting period (8.7%). Marijuana was associated with more drug arrests than any other drug. Marijuana arrests increased 10.6 percent compared to the previous reporting period while arrests for heroin, “crack” cocaine and powder cocaine showed an even greater percent increase compared to the previous reporting period (17.1%, 11.1%,19.4%, respectively).
  • Fraud offenses increased by less than one percent compared to 2015 (.85%).
  • Of the 862 arsons and attempted arsons that were reported, half (50.3%) reported the location as “residence/home.”  Neither time of day or day of the week appear to be associated with this offense.
  • Robbery increased 7.6 percent. Of the 4,796 robberies and attempted robberies, one-third (31.8%) took place between 8 pm. and midnight. Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place.
  • Of the weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 75.6 percent of homicides and 57.6 percent of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offenses of aggravated assault (27.8%) and forcible rape (2.2%). 
  • There were 137 hate crimes reported in 2016 representing an 11.6 percent decrease compared to 2015. Over half (57.6%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward sexual orientation and religion were next highest (19.7%, 16.8%, respectively). The remaining 5.8 percent reported was attributed to a bias against a victim’s physical or mental disability. The offense of assault was associated with half (50.4%) of all reported bias-motivated crimes, while destruction/damage/ vandalism of property was associated with 31.4 percent of all reported bias-motivated crimes.        

The report employs an Incident Based Reporting (IBR) method for calculating offenses, thus allowing for greater accuracy. IBR divides crimes into two categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault), property crimes and drug offenses, and Group B for what are considered less serious offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest has occurred.

For Group A offenses, between 2015 and 2016, adult arrests increased 3.3 percent. Juvenile arrests for Group A offenses also increased by a similar amount (3.1%). For Group B arrests, there was a decrease of 6.3 percent for adults while juvenile Group B arrests decreased 11.8 percent. For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 282,422 arrests in 2015 compared to 276,144 arrests in 2016, representing an overall decrease of 2.2 percent arrests in Virginia.

Per state mandate, the Department of Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices. The data are collected by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division via a secured internet system. This information is then compiled into Crime in Virginia, an annual report for use by law enforcement, elected officials, media and the general public. These data become the official crime statistics for the Commonwealth and are sent to the FBI who modifies and incorporates them in their annual report, Crime in the United States.

MOTORISTS URGED TO DRIVE 2 SAVE LIVES THIS JULY 4 HOLIDAY

2017 Summer Travel Season Off to a Deadly Start on Virginia Highways

RICHMOND – With a “record-breaking” number of travelers forecasted for the 2017 Independence Day weekend and the recent rash of fatal crashes in Virginia since the official start of summer, the Virginia State Police is urging all motorists to put traffic safety at the top of their list of holiday priorities. This past weekend, 15 people were killed in traffic crashes across the Commonwealth. Those who lost their lives in traffic crashes June 23-25, 2017, included drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians ranging from 4 months to 74 years of age.

To ensure the Fourth of July holiday is as safe as possible, Virginia State Police will increase patrols during the long holiday weekend. Beginning Saturday, July 1, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2017 July Fourth statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and continues through midnight Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

“Halfway through 2017, there have already been 20 more traffic deaths compared to this date in 2016,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Let’s try to turn this year around and work towards saving lives, beginning with this July Fourth weekend. Traffic crashes and deaths are prevented when drivers and passengers simply follow the rules of the road – this includes never driving impaired, avoiding distractions while driving and always wearing a seatbelt.” 

During the 2016 July Fourth weekend, Virginia troopers arrested 106 drunk drivers and cited 9,487 speeders and 2,590 reckless drivers. They also cited 821 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt and 360 motorists for child safety seat violations during the four-day statistical counting period.

With increased patrols, state police also remind drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.                  

Previous July 4th Fatality Statistics*:

Year

Fatalities

# of Days

2016

8

4

2015

4

3

2014

11

3

   *Traffic Crash Facts, VA Highway Safety Office, DMV               

Virginia Senior Alert - JEAN HILLMAN STRICKLAND - CANCELLED

UPDATE - Mrs. Strickland has been found safely.

THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE HAVE ISSUED A SENIOR ALERT ON BEHALF OF THE SPOTSYLVANIA SHERIFFS OFFICE ON 06/28/17 AT 1816 HOURS.

THE SPOTSYLVANIA SHERIFFS OFFICE IS LOOKING FOR JEAN HILLMAN STRICKLAND, WHITE FEMALE, 77 YEARS OLD, 58, 185 LBS, WITH GREEN EYES AND GRAY HAIR.

THE MISSING SENIOR SUFFERS FROM A COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT AND THE DISAPPEARANCE POSES A CREDIBLE THREAT TO HER HEALTH AND SAFETY.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  SHE WAS DRIVING A 2009 GREEN HYUNDAI SANTA FE WITH A VIRGINIA REGISTRATION 3728GD.

PLEASE CONTACT THE SPOTSYLVANIA SHERIFFS OFFICE AT 540-582-7115.

YOU MAY FIND COMPLETE INFORMATION AT HTTP://WWW.VASENIORALERT.COM/

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