Category Archives: Public Safety

Fatal crash on Fifth Street extended

A crash in the 900 block of Fifth Street Extended late Saturday night has killed a Richmond woman, according to a report from CBS19 News. That’s prompted the group Livable Cville to call on Charlottesville City Hall to move forward with planned solutions. A series of fatalities in 2020 led to a petition drive that led to a conversation on City Council that November of that year at which traffic engineer Brennan Duncan offered several recommendations including lowering the speed limit. Livable Cities wants to know why none of them have been implemented. 

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Charlottesville Fire Department releases annual report; CARS wants answers on new dispatch protocol

The Charlottesville Fire Department has released its annual report for the fiscal year that ended on June 2021. In the past year there is a new chief in Hezedean Smith, recruited 22 new firefighters, and boosted work in community risk reduction. There are 114 total employees in the fire department, including six civilians. There were 5,717 calls for service, with 2,105 of those for fire calls and 3,612 medical calls. 

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Security firm defends service to public housing agency poised to cancel contract

Since January, Sentry Force Security has held a contract to patrol properties owned and operated by the Charlottesville Housing and Redevelopment Authority. President Tim Sansone addressed the CHRA Board of Commissioners at their meeting at matters from the public and said there has been an increase in illegal activities and that Sentry Force personnel have been coordinating with the Charlottesville Police Department. 

“I understand there’s been some dialogue or conversations as far as the scope of our services and the contract that we have with CRHA,” Sansone said. “I think everyone would agree or know that the properties that we’re here to patrol and provide services with are definitely in need of some type of security service or coverage which is what we are providing.” 

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Council briefed on Fire Department’s Neighborhood Risk Reduction program

At their meeting on March 16, Charlottesville City Council got a report from the fire department on their new approach toward Community Risk Reduction, which is intended to lower service calls through various preventative measures. Joe Powers was hired from Henrico County to be the first deputy chief for community risk reduction. 

“We’re one of the few fire departments across the United States that has invested in community risk reduction at an executive level,” Powers said. “From a traditional standpoint, we’ve always heard of fire prevention as a part of the fire department. We’re changing that mindset and taking it from a section of the fire department and making it an organizational process.”

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Scottsville Town Council discusses racist fliers

The Scottsville Town Council met last night for their first meeting of the year with a work session and the topic of public safety came up in a several ways. First, town Police Chief Jeff Vohlwinkel updated the Council on compliance with a presidential executive order issued last summer in the wake of the protests that rocked the nation after George Floyd was killed on May 25 after being held to the ground for nine and a half minutes by a police officer’s knee. 

“So it’s a presidential executive order related to community policing and safety that requires us to show that we have a use of force policy that complies with the federal and state laws as it relates to use of excessive force and that we have a duty to intervene within the policy as well as barring choke holds,” Vohlwinel said.  

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Chief Brackney addresses city on recent violence

This morning, Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney held a press conference to update the public on a series of violent crimes in the city and to state that the Police Department needs the community’s assistance to fix the problem. 

“More than a month ago we stood before you to discuss the unprecedented levels of violence in this community,” Brackney said. “Unfortunately the trend has continued into the New Year. We understand the drivers of systemic violence. We study them. We explore the root causes of community violence to include poverty, exclusion from education or living wage opportunities. We understand institutional supremacy and racism and its effects. Charlottesville does not need another commission, does not need another task force or forum to understand or address violence here.”

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Petition seeks changes to 5th Street to prevent further crashes

A petition created to demand changes to the physical character of 5th Street in  Charlottesville now has over 1,300 signatures. Binta Rose’s son Rahmean Rose died following a motorcycle crash on August 30. Fifth street is a four-lane divided highway between Ridge Street and Interstate 64, but more residential streets have been added in recent years. 

“When exiting from Bailey Road, Brookwood, Cleveland Avenue or 5th Street Station, oncoming traffic is going entirely too fast,” reads the petition. “Too many families in the last year have lost loved ones to [crashes] on 5th Street.”

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