Alexandria, VA

A conversation over School Resource Officers (SROs) in Alexandria City Public Schools got heated on Wednesday night, as School Board members asked City Council to respect their decision renewing the bi-annual memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the police department.

City Councilman Canek Aguirre brought up the subject at Wednesday’s joint budget meeting with the School Board.

“I was a little bit disappointed in how this Board chose to proceed with the SRO MOU,” Aguirre said at the meeting. “You don’t have to be (housed) in the building, frankly, to be able to show up during lunch or arrival or dismissal, which (is when) officers are engaging the students most, which is arrival, lunch, and dismissal. I think that we can create schedules for these officers where they still have an opportunity to show up during some of these times.”

School Board Chair Meagan Alderton asked that Council respect its recent 6-3 decision approving the SROs, with some modifications for them including receiving racial diversity training.

“My request and hope would be that out of respect for the discussions that we have had as a School Board, and for the process that we went through, even as a matter of trust to give us time to do what we said we would like to do, that you would not take away that resource at this time,” Alderton said. “I don’t think it would be a productive way to address the issue that I think we all want to address.”

According to the MOU, SROs have the authority to stop and “question students who may have information about criminal activity” on or off school property. If a student is being interviewed by an SRO school, a principal or their designee is required to be contacted immediately.

In October, parents, students and community advocacy representatives railed against SROs, and said they foster an inappropriate culture of prejudice against non-white students.

School Board Vice Chair Veronica Nolan asked that City Council stay in its lane.

“I’m just frankly baffled that we’re even having a discussion that we have identified through our school division leaders, that this is a resource that our students depend on, whether it be through soccer or life experiences or having relationships, and that we’re considering taking resources from the very kids that we plan to champion… I don’t understand it,” Nolan said. “I’m really concerned that we’re staying in our lanes, that we’re respecting the school board vote, and that we’re not stealing resources away that have been identified by the school leaders who really know the day-to-day work. I’m very concerned to hear that you’re considering taking away resources that we as a school board, we as school leaders, the students themselves and the teachers on the ground (say that) is something we need and want and helps us.”

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that, as a line item in the city’s budget, SROs fall within the purview of Council. The program is funded in the police department’s budget, and Chapman said that after the board’s renewal of the MOU that he was asked to eliminate funding for the ACPS program by members of the community.

“I’m very shocked to see that being questioned here,” Chapman said. “We are technically one half of this MOU, and by signing the MOU with our department we can have a say so on it through our city manager. I kind of find it odd that that’s being even questioned, especially if folks know the role of City Council and know the role of School Board.”

Chapman continued, “I just wanted to make sure that folks walk away from this meeting with that clarity, because it should not be something that we’re going to sit here and question what council’s role is and tell us we’re not in our lane, because we are in our lane.”

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An Alexandria man is in good condition after being stabbed in Arlandria on Wednesday afternoon (March 3).

Police tweeted at 4 p.m. Wednesday that four men were in a fight and that one of them was stabbed in the leg in the 3800 block of Old Dominion Blvd. They are now searching for three male suspects.

Police would not disclose details of the incident except to say that the victim did not suffer life threatening injuries. The incident occurred near the Presidential Greens apartment complex that are a block away from Mount Vernon Avenue.

“The victim is in good condition,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “Our team is still working through the details of this active investigation.”

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Famed Jewish Songstress Dies in Alexandria at 97 — “Singer, songwriter, guitarist and accordionist Flory Jagoda worked hard to preserve the music and language she inherited from her Sephardic Jewish ancestors in her adopted American home. Named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002, she died on Jan. 29 at age 97 in Alexandria, Va. at a long-term memory care facility, according to an obituary placed by her family.” [NPR]

Virginia American Water Identifies Source of Water Main Break — “The issue on S Whiting Street was identified to be a broken valve which has been repaired. We are slowly restarting service and it may already be on for some customers. We anticipate it will be fully restored within two hours.” [Twitter]

Collective Bargaining Taking Center Stage Next Week in Alexandria — “Very important meetings coming up next week regarding the Collective Bargaining agreement in #Alexandriava.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Mindfulness Educator Training Police —  “”We think officers could have some benefit in wellness course training. This course introduces strategies to regulate emotional states in a trauma-sensitive way, planting the seed of mindfulness, with the hope that they will continue to learn about it more in-depth later.” [Zebra]

FEMA Updating Flood Map in Alexandria — “While the flood maps are exclusively a FEMA initiative, the City of Alexandria plays a role in determining how the final flood maps could look. The City will provide feedback on preliminary maps and facilitates feedback and information between individual residents and FEMA.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Mostly sunny skies (during the day). High 52F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph… Mainly clear (in the evening). Low 26F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Youth Soccer Coach — “Soccer Shots blends soccer, education, and fun into high energy 30-minute sessions to kids ages 2-8 throughout the DC/MD/VA area. You’ll laugh. You’ll break a sweat. And you’ll go home at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference. It may be tough but coaching our children will be one of most rewarding things you ever do. Apply today to be our friend and their hero.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are investigating an armed robbery yesterday (Tuesday) that left a West End man with minor injuries. The incident occurred just before 9 p.m. in the 5700 block of Exeter Court.

The victim suffered a minor injury and his phone and cash were stolen, but he did not go to the hospital, according to police.

The victim said he did not know the suspects.

The area where the incident occurred is near the Shops at Mark Center shopping mall, and less than a mile from where an armed robbery occurred in October.

Map via Google Maps

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A water main break erupted like a geyser in the West End Wednesday morning , and Virginia American Water says that it will be repaired by 5 p.m.

The water main break was reported just after 4:30 a.m. in the 200 block of South Whiting Street, and police advised residents to steer clear of the area.

Alexandria Police reported via Twitter early this morning that Virginia American Water has taken control of the water main break. Repairs are expected to be finished at around 5 p.m.

Image via Alexandria Police/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Alexandria to Get Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Next Week — On Saturday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Adding a third vaccine to Alexandria’s pandemic response is significant and will ultimately mean that more vaccines are available to protect more people… Johnson & Johnson vaccines will become available in Alexandra starting later this week.” [City of Alexandria]

Beyer, Kaine Introduce ‘The Cost of Police Misconduct Act’ — “Most Americans have no idea how much cities and counties they live in spend on police misconduct because cases are often settled in secret. The Cost of Police Misconduct Act would make these costs public, which we hope and believe would help save lives.” [Twitter]

Council to Vote on 2-Hour Heavy Vehicle Parking Limit — “In response to community concerns re long-term heavy vehicle parking in commercial areas, staff is proposing a 2-hour heavy vehicle parking limit ordinance (except for loading/unloading)” [Twitter]

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Canceled — “This year would have been the 40th annual parade. In 2020, the March 7 parade was the last major event in Alexandria before COVID-19 restrictions began to be implemented.” [Patch.com]

National Park Service Predicts Peak Cherry Blossom Bloom — “The National Park Service (NPS) just released its 2021 cherry blossom peak bloom prediction for 2021: April 2 – April 5. The prediction varies year to year based on weather conditions, but it is typically between the last week in March and the first week of April, according to the NPS Bloom Watch webpage.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Mainly sunny (during the day). High 59F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 37F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Walker/Pet Sitter — “Pay ranges from $350 to $650 per week, depending on the number of dogs scheduled for that week. Must have a valid driver’s license and must be able to safely transport numerous dogs in your vehicle.” [Indeed]

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(Updated 4 p.m.) On person has been arrested for a Fast and Furious-style illegal street race on I-495 near Telegraph Road this weekend.

According to a press release, the police became first aware of the incident on Saturday around 11:15 p.m. when an officer on patrol heard loud exhaust sounds from I-495.

“Upon receiving an alert from Virginia State Police about vehicles racing in the area of I-495 and Telegraph Road, Sergeant Ryan Waple positioned himself to observe 3-4 vehicles traveling in a group, positioning themselves to race,” APD said in the release. “The drivers of two vehicles, including a silver Mustang GT, then revved their engines and accelerated. Sergeant Waple followed with due regard for safety, as the vehicles reached speeds of 105MPH. At that point, he activated his emergency equipment and successfully stopped and apprehended the driver of the Mustang GT.”

Police arrested one person for racing and reckless driving by speed, and impounded his Mustang GT.

The arrest is the latest in a coordinated campaign with Virginia State Police to address speeding and racing issues. The release noted that there are often community frustrations created by loud noise, but noted that state legislation prevents officers from initiating traffic stops for vehicles for offenses like altered exhaust systems.

“This type of behavior is dangerous to anyone these drivers are sharing the road with and will not be tolerated,” said Chief Michael Brown in the press release.  “We want to commend Sergeant Waple for his effort to stop this reckless behavior.”

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Morning Notes

Police Provide Guidance on Indecent Exposures in Del Ray — “The Police department encourages anyone who is a victim or witnessed these incidents to call 9-1-1.  If you live in the neighborhood, please review your security cameras and call police if there is suspicious activity.” [City of Alexandria]

City Hall Walk-in Payment Hours Expanded — “Beginning Monday, March 1, in-person services are now available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]

Little Theatre of Alexandria Presents ‘The Revolutionists’ — “Come watch as four sassy women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.” [Gazette]

‘Port City Publius’ Bashes Anti-Establishment Facebook Group — “The group is a tinpot dictatorship in which comments and posts that don’t share the narrow worldview of the moderators are routinely deleted and removed, and the offending poster evicted from the membership. This authoritarian intolerance for diverse and divergent viewpoint–not to mention an outright manipulation of the discourse in the group (‘IT’S CANCEL CULTURE!!’ comes the ironic scream from the cover of the CPAC brochure most of these people probably have laying on their kitchen counter)–is pretty hypocritical for a group allegedly concerned with integrity.” [Port City Publius]

Former Delegate Krupicka Publishes Poetry Book — “”It took a while, but I fell into routine of writing poems inspired by grace and the need for grace in life. Fast forward a few years and I had a good number of poems. Enough for a collection. Well, here it is. This project took close to five years in total to write, edit and then get the nerve up to publish.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy. Periods of rain early. High 54F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 27F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Full Time Nanny for 1 Child — “We are looking for a nanny who can watch and care for our five-month-old daughter while both parents are working from home, ideally one who can start as soon as possible. Nanny would be responsible for ensuring that the baby gets fed, has playtime, and takes naps on a reasonable schedule; takes her outside as weather permits; and helps ensure she is hitting her developmental milestones. We are taking our COVID precautions seriously, and since the nanny would effectively become part of our bubble, we would want to work with someone who is also diligent about our daughter’s safety. The nanny must also be Infant CPR certified.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are continuing to investigate a series of indecent exposure incidents in Del Ray since last year.

The most recent incident took place on Jan. 21 between 6 and 6:30 a.m. in the area of E. Alexandria and E. Glendale Avenues. A Black male in his 20s or 30s was seen masturbating in the driveway of a home. Police were called and a K9 was used in tracking the suspect. The K9 lost the scent in an alleyway, according to sources.

“Since May 2020, we have 10 active indecent exposure-type investigations in the Del Ray area,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow.

Many of the incidents have occurred in the early morning.

Police Chief Michael L. Brown briefed members of the Del Ray Business Association on Thursday, Feb. 25, and will speak to the community on March 11. Brown reportedly told DRBA that a suspect was arrested in Old Town on Sunday for indecent exposure, but is unsure that it is the same suspect as the Del Ray incidents, according to a person who participated in the call.

Alexandria Police have not released details on the incidents, and only reported that there are varied suspect descriptions and 10 active cases.

The most recent similar incident occurred at around 6:30 a.m. on Friday, November 20, in the unit block of East Bellefonte Avenue. There was also another incident in the 2200 block of Mount Vernon Avenue at around 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, although police did not file a report for the Nov. 13 incident, as the officer told the victim who witnessed the exposure to call him if she saw the suspect again.

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