Arlington County Police Finish First in National Challenge

It’s generally a really good or really bad thing to know a lot of police officers. For instance, I knew quite a number of officers in Durham, NC when I sold computers to the City of Durham a number of years back. I could go visit them, shoot the breeze, make a sale or two and know with some certainty that, should I need it, I had friends in the Durham PD who could vouch for me. That was good.

On the other hand, when I taught GED classes in Worcester, MA, my students were mostly kids who were constantly on the wrong side of the law and knew lots of cops from having been arrested multiple times. That was bad, at least for them, if good for society that they came into contact with the po-po on a frequent basis.

Since I have been in Arlington I have yet to meet any of the local police, although I have made friends at other law enforcement agencies. If I did know any of Arlington’s Finest, I would gladly buy them a beer, after reading this news story. After hours, of course.

From the Arlington County Web site:

The Arlington County Police Department tied for first place in a national traffic safety competition. The results of the 2006 National Law Enforcement Challenge were announced late last week. The ACPD tied with the Tallahassee, Florida Police Department for top honors among similar sized agencies (251-500 officers). Arlington was entered in the national competition after it won the Virginia competition in its size category.

The Law Enforcement Challenge recognizes and rewards the best overall traffic safety programs in the country. Police Departments are judged on their efforts to enforce traffic laws and educate the public about occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding. To win, agencies must show how they’ve combined officer training, public information and enforcement to reduce the number of crashes and injuries.

“I’m very proud of this outstanding effort,” said Arlington Police Chief Doug Scott. “Our officers have worked extremely hard to get drunk drivers off the streets, boost seat belt usage and slow down aggressive drivers. Their success earned them this recognition and it’s well deserved.”

From 2000 to 2006, there was a 16 percent decline in the total number of accidents reported in Arlington. At the same time, there was a 29 percent drop in the number of accident-related injuries. Also, in 2006, officers made 662 DUI arrests, seat belt usage in the County was close to 90 percent, significantly higher than the state average, and traffic complaints from citizens declined sharply.

“Traffic safety is a major concern for residents,” said Deputy Chief of Operations Jay Farr. “It’s one of our top priorities as well, and the education and enforcement work of our patrol officers and Special Operations Section is producing real results. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to this effort and especially to Lieutenant William Griffith who produced our thorough award submission.”

The ACPD will receive its first place state award at the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Williamsburg in late August. The National Law Enforcement Challenge awards will be presented in October at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in New Orleans.

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