Culpeper Town Police working toward Crime Prevention Certification

The townâ??s Public Works, Public Safety and Community Development Committee learned Tuesday afternoon that the police department is working toward state certification as a Crime Prevention Community.

â??We think it is a good deal for the community,â? Police Chief Chris Jenkins told the committee.

Twelve localities have attained certification. The Town of Herndon and Fairfax County are the only Northern Virginia certified crime prevention communities, with four communities in southeast Virginia.

A formal Resolution of Participation is required from the governing body, and the department must meet 12 core community safety elements, along with a minimum of seven optional elements.

Certification through the Department of Criminal Justice Services lasts for three years, with recertification for three years to ensure compliance.

Certified localities are given preference in state grant applications. Homeowners and business also stand to benefit, with possible insurance premium reductions, according to the departmentâ??s monthly activities report.

â??I thought it was exciting when I read that,â? said Council member Meaghan Taylor. â??I think it will be terrific.â?

During the meeting, Councilman Keith Price asked about the testing of body cameras for police officers. Jenkins said the department was still assessing cameras.

â??There are a lot of moving parts,â? said Jenkins. â??We want to get it right. We are trying not to make the mistakes other departments have made.â?

Town Manager Chris Hively said once an issue is identified it can lead to another issue when policy is implemented.

Committee Chairman Jon Russell said that he had conducted some research on policies regarding the use of body cameras, and he would be happy to share that information with the committee. Russell said the council would need to establish a policy if body cameras are deployed.

Russell also mentioned that he read that the Greene County Sheriffâ??s Office had established a safe zone where people may transact business in a public place when purchasing items on Craigslist or other online sales sites.

Jenkins said Spotsylvania County law enforcement recently did the same thing, although it is not policed but has surveillance capabilities.

It was suggested that the police department lot might be an appropriate location in Culpeper for transactions.

â??Itâ??s probably coming,â? said Jenkins.

Public Services Director Jim Hoy was asked about the testing and inspection for water and sewer in the expanding Northridge subdivision along Ira Hoffman Lane.

Hoy said the town provides water and sewer services to the single-family homes through the water and sewer agreement with the county.

â??We are working with the developer,â? said Hoy, mentioning the design of a pump station.

Russell asked who was paying for the work.

â??The contractor is doing all this work,â? said Hively. â??There is no cost to the town.â?

With winter coming, Russell wanted to know what preparations were underway.

Hoy said bids are being prepared for salt and chemicals. Equipment is being refurbished and employees are undergoing training.

â??I think we are pretty well positioned,â? said Hoy.

Councilman Dave Lochridge asked about an update on the ongoing Waters Place project. Planning Director Charles Rapp said the developer was still dealing with sidewalk and parking lot issues.

â??They are still building apartments,â? said Rapp.

Wally Bunker is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at wallybunker@outlook.com