Last week, Albemarle County became the latest locality in the area to adopt a plan to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies. The Thomas Jefferson Planning Districts maintains and updates the Regional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, a document required by the federal government in order to qualify for certain grants and other funding sources. (read the plan)
The plan also serves as a guide for how the county uses its resources.
“It covers from the preventative measures that we might be able to take to actual response strategies including staffing our Emergency Operations Center, recovery, said John Oprandy, Albemarle County’s Deputy Chief of Emergency Management with the Fire and Rescue.
Localities all across Virginia have been working together on plans to use funding that comes from a major settlement from pharmacies related to the over-prescription of opioid painkillers. Last week, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors agreed to proceed with a contract with the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority on a future project.
“This is the work of many months of creating a cooperative agreement with Region 10, Nelson County, Louisa County, and we’re hoping the City of Charlottesville to join forces to apply for competitive funding,” said Kaki Dimock, Albemarle County’s director of social services.
Prospective Communications Director turns down job
Charlottesville has been without an in-house City Attorney since Lisa Robertson abruptly resigned at the end of 2022. The city has contracted with two separate law firms to provide legal advice, but that could come to an end soon according to Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers.
“We will conclude the interviews for City Attorney this week and my plan is to come to you for interviews in the intervening weeks so that you can make a decision at the next Council meeting,” Rogers said.
The City of Charlottesville has hired a 28-year veteran of law enforcement to serve as the next director of civilian oversight for the police department. Inez Gonzalez served 25 years with the police department in Newark, New Jersey
“Ms. Gonzalez is passionate about police accountability and policies that ensure that accountability,” said Ashley Marshall, the city’s Deputy City Manager for Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
One of the biggest topics so far this year has been the increase in gun violence including several homicides. Now the area’s three governments are forming a new committee to come up with ideas to help.
“Facilitated by UVA’s Equity Center and co-chaired by UVA and community representatives, the working group will include representation from the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, UVA, nonprofit organizations, and other groups from across the community,” reads a press release sent out Tuesday.
Both Albemarle County and Charlottesville police have announced the arrest of individuals alleged to be involved in recent gun violence.
This morning, Charlottesville Police announced the arrest yesterday of 19-year-old Raymaqu’a Antonio Nicholas of Charlottesville in the February 22 murder of 20-year-old Gordonsville resident Nicklous Pendleton. The suspect was taken into custody yesterday after an investigation involving the Federal Bureau of Investigations, The United States Attorney’s Office, and The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
There has been a wave of shootings and homicides in the community in the past six months. At the beginning of the meeting, interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers addressed the issue.
“Chief [Michael] Kochis and the men and women of the Charlottesville Police Department are working tirelessly to address the recent spike in gun violence and to bring justice to those who have been affected,” Rogers said.
A public body charged with coordinating emergency responses for Charlottesville, Albemarle and the University of Virginia met earlier today. These meetings are no longer available to view remotely, but the meeting packet is worth a review. (review the packet)
Of the five public safety agencies that participate, the Albemarle County Police Department is by far the busiest with the most calls in all months in 2022. For instance, ACPD received 5,901 calls for service in December compared to 3,051 for the University Police Department and 2,968 for the Charlottesville Police Department.
Michael Kochis has been on the job as Charlottesville’s Police Chief since Monday but his swearing in came yesterday at the tail end of a City Council work session.
“Mayor and City Council, we’ve arrived at the time where we can welcome a new member to our family here in the city of Charlottesville, a new leader for the Charlottesville Police Department,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers.
Six new firefighters have joined Albemarle County this week after going through an abbreviated recruit school. The county announced this morning that the new public safety employees had previous experience and are known as “lateral recruits.”
“ACFR personnel are highly trained and motivated to provide the highest quality service to the residents of Albemarle,” said Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston in a statement. “These individuals were already trained firefighters elsewhere and chose to come to ACFR because of the standard of care and quality of the department, and we warmly welcome them to the family.”