Alexandria doesn’t have the resources to adequately cover the public safety aspect of the proposed Potomac Yard arena and entertainment district, sources in the Alexandria Police Department and Sheriff’s Office told ALXnow.
The city currently does not have the resources to cover the addition of the arena and entertainment district at Potomac Yard. The Alexandria Police Department has just over 300 officers, the Sheriff’s Office has around 165 deputies and the Fire Department has about 300 fire and rescue personnel.
The city is developing a “public safety and event services plan” to support large events while maintaining service for the rest of the city.
“The project team, which includes multiple city agencies, is developing a public safety and event services plan for the proposed entertainment district that will include deployment of City and regional resources to support the public during events in this area while maintaining full services for the rest of the City,” Ebony Fleming, the city’s director of communications, told ALXnow.
Last year, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, hired an additional 20% of off-duty D.C. police officers to handle security at games and events.
In the meantime, the Alexandria Fire Department is undergoing a restructuring, or redeployment, of resources. In 2022, more than 70% of AFD incidents were medical and rescue-related and just 15% were fire alarm and fire-related. Fleming says that the AFD Forward plan, which would redeploy resources around the city, will not be impacted by the arena.
“The arena will not impact AFD Forward,” Fleming said. “The Entertainment District project will include a fire and emergency medical services event services plan that will be developed to support the public in this area while maintaining full services for the rest of the City.”
Fleming did not provide a deadline for completion of the public safety and event services plan.
Fleming said that the police department is leading the law enforcement planning and that the Sheriff’s Office is “willing to support APD should they identify specific needs where Sheriff’s Deputies can enhance the public’s safety.” She also said that Sheriff Sean Casey is “confident a thorough needs assessment will be requested and conducted as part of the overall process.”
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