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An Alexandria resident, who is a Pentagon Force Protection Agency police officer, was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine in Arlington County on Friday, October 28.

The 33-year-old officer was off duty and was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession to distribute a controlled substance while armed. He was arrested in the afternoon in the 1300 block of S. Scott Street “

The suspect was arrested “after detectives observed him purchase narcotics for distribution, according to Arlington County police. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

“Organized Crime Section detectives initiated a narcotics investigation after receiving information regarding a suspect possibly distributing cocaine in Arlington County,” ACPD said in a release. “A search warrant was subsequently executed at the suspect’s residence in Alexandria which resulted in the recovery of additional quantiles of narcotics and firearms.”

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No one was injured after two separate incidents of gunfire in the West End of Alexandria over the weekend.

Alexandria police say that no suspects have been arrested, and that the incidents remain under investigation.

The first incident occurred outside just after 7 a.m. on Saturday, October 29, in a neighborhood in the 5600 block of Taney Avenue. That’s near the intersection with N. Van Dorn Street and Interstate 395.

The second shooting occurred after 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 30, outside an apartment complex in the 5800 block of Quantrell Avenue.

“Shootings are dangerous,” said APD spokesman Marcel Bassett. “It’s something that we are taking seriously.”

No suspect descriptions have been released.

Anyone with information on these incidents can contact the Alexandria Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Maps via Google Maps

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A man was robbed at gunpoint as he painted the exterior of a house near the waterfront in Old Town.

The incident occurred in the 400 block of S. Lee Street on Saturday, October 15, at around 11 a.m. Two men allegedly approached the victim, one of them brandished a handgun and the victim suffered minor injured, according to police. An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen.

There have been no arrests, and the incident remains under investigation. Suspect descriptions were not released by police.

Anyone with information on this incident is urged to call the Alexandria Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria City Public Schools officials say that their strategies to make school safer are working, although it will take time to tell if they’re right.

Flanked by city, school and police officials, interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt said at a student safety forum on Wednesday night that crime incidents are down this school year.

Kay-Wyatt didn’t present data to back up the claim that schools are safer, but said that it’s because of a new identification requirement for students and staff at Alexandria City High School, staggering dismissal times, designating entrances for students and staff at schools, and providing all ACPS students with a mandatory 30 minutes of daily Social and Emotional Learning (SEAL) time.

“While we see that incidents are down, I remain very hopeful,” Kay-Wyatt said. “I believe that it’s (due to) of some of those SEAL lessons that are in place and other supports that we put in place throughout the school year to make sure that we are supporting families and students.”

There were 46 students arrested and 68 injured in the 2021-2022 school year, with 194 incidents that provoked a police response, according to an ACPS safety report. The school system is, in fact, using the 2021-2022 school year as a baseline for future improvement.

Transportation-wise, the city recently approved the installation of speed cameras in five school zones, as well as reducing speed limits in school zones to 15 miles per hour. The city is also working on walk audits for potential pedestrian improvements on roadways near Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School, George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools, and both ACHS campuses.

By December, Kay-Wyatt will also receive recommendations on a reimagined partnership between ACPS and the police department, the latter of which provides school resource officers to the high school and the city’s middle schools. In the meantime, a proposal will be presented to the School Board to continue the SRO program as it stands until the end of the school year.

“Last year was very challenging, extremely challenging,” John Contreras, ACPS Director of Safety and Security Services, said at the forum. “It was a very challenging year and this year is a bit calmer.”

Contreras also did not present any safety data on this school year.

While the school system might feels safer, it will take time to collect the data to really see what’s working, said School Board Member Abdel Elnoubi, who attended the meeting as an audience member.

“You’ve got to give it time,” Elnoubi said.

One high school student at the event said that SEAL lessons aren’t working, and that the information being presented to the community is being “sugar-coated.”

“They have us do community circles to share our emotions, but it’s high schoolers,” another student said. “Nobody want to talk about how they feel. It’s just an awkward experience.”

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The Alexandria City Council, on Tuesday (October 25), hired its first-ever auditor to independently review allegations of police misconduct.

Kim Neal, the first-ever director of police oversight for the City of Fort Worth, Texas, beat out three other top candidates chosen after an eight-month national search.

Neal is tasked with being the administrator dedicated to the Independent Community Policing Review Board, which began meeting in January. The Board has been unable to function properly without an auditor to hire staff, conduct investigations and coordinate the Board’s administrative functions.

“We’re excited to get someone of her experience and background in this role,” Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow.

Neal has been in Fort Worth since March, 2020, and is credited with leading efforts to “audit body-worn camera footage and use-of-force policies, conducted regular community engagement activities to identify solutions for how to improve police-community relations, and identified patterns and trends of citizen complains and incidents,” according to a city staff report.

Neal starts work on December 12.

The Independent Policing Community Review Board has the authority to:

  • Receive concerns from the community regarding policing in Alexandria
  • Review Alexandria Police Department investigations of certain incidents and complaints and issue advisory findings
  • Conduct independent investigations of certain incidents of complaints of more serious incidents, as defined in the ordinance, and issue advisory findings regarding these incidents
  • Consider and make recommendations on policing practices, policies or procedures

City Council, in response to the George Floyd murder, condemned police brutality and systemic racism in June 2020, and stated the intent to establish the review board.

Neal is also former the executive director for the Citizens Complaint Authority in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she investigated allegations of police misconduct. She has a degree in business administration from Georgetown University and a juris doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

“”We appreciate Kim Neal’s vast experience and insight that led to developing Fort Worth’s program for independent review of the police department in order to increase trust between the community and the department,” Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke said in a release.

Via City of Fort Worth

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A 23-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly pointing a handgun at his landlord in a West End apartment.

The incident occurred on the night of Sunday, September 18, in an apartment in the 2800 block of Seay Street.

The victim told police that his tenant, Khalil Gray, got into an argument with him at home. The victim told police that Gray has pointed the same gun at him multiple times during arguments over the last several months, and that Gray moved in when the victim’s son moved out of the apartment, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Gray was arrested on Monday, September 19, and charged with brandishing a firearm, assault and battery and two counts of violating a protective order. He goes to court for the offenses on November 28.

The apartment where the incident occurred is near Bishop Ireton High School and the intersection of Seay Street and Duke Street.

Via Google Maps

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Updated at 5:55 p.m. The Alexandria School Board on Friday (October 20) received a recommendation to extend its agreement with the Alexandria Police Department to provide school resource officers at the city’s high school and middle schools until  the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

The School Board will vote on the matter at its upcoming meeting on Thursday, November 10.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the school system and police department was set to expire at the end of this month. By mid-December, the School Board will also receive interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt recommendations on the reimagined partnership. Those recommendations will have been guided by the School Law Enforcement Partnership (SLEP) Advisory Group.

“The SLEP advisory group may recommend changes to the MOU as part of their overall recommendations to the School Board in December 2022/January 2023,” Alicia Hart, the ACPS chief of facilities and operations, wrote in a memo to the School Board. “To this end, we are recommending extending the current MOU with APD through the end of June 2023. This extension will allow time to account for any potential recommendations that may come from the SLEP advisory group process as well as completion of the public comment process related to the review of the MOU.”

School safety has been a major focus within ACPS since full in-person schooling resumed at the beginning of the last school year.

ACPS began the 2021-2022 school year without school resource officers, after they were defunded by the City Council in last year’s budget. The first few months of the school year were punctuated by incidents with weapons in schools, prompting School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and then-Superintendent Gregory Hutchings to successfully plead to Council for SROs to return in October 2021.

Two months later, two SROs at Alexandria City High School’s King Street campus were put on administrative leave after being accused of having inappropriate sexual conversations with a former student. The school ended up not having SROs stationed at the King Street campus for the remainder of the school year.

There were 46 students arrested and 68 injured last school year, and 194 incidents that provoked a police response, according to an ACPS safety report.

Police Chief Don Hayes says that police are needed to contend with crews of violent kids within the school system, and Kay-Wyatt said that she will work collaboratively with the police to keep schools safe.

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Twelve hours after a pedestrian was struck by a driver in the Landmark neighborhood, a crash between the drivers of a Ford Explorer and a motorcycle left the biker with life-threatening injuries.

The second crash occurred at the intersection of West Braddock Road and High Street near the Rosemont neighborhood.

“There is a heavy police presence at West Braddock Road and High Street,” police said. “This is in response to a two-vehicle crash. One person was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. APD’s Crash Reconstruction Team is investigating the cause of the crash.”

Earlier that day, a 42-year-old woman was seriously injured crossing South Van Dorn Street when she was hit by the driver of a silver Honda CRV.

According to police:

The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a traffic crash that occurred on Monday, October 17, 2022, in the 500 block of South Van Dorn Street.

At approximately 6:36 AM, police responded to the area for a pedestrian struck in the 500 block of South Van Dorn Street. The preliminary investigation suggests a 42-year-old female, was crossing South Van Dorn Street when she was struck by a silver Honda CRV traveling northbound on South Van Dorn Street. The female was transported to the hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the silver SUV remained on the scene.

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There were no injuries after shots were fired in the West End on Sunday night (October 16).

Police reported the incident at 8:35 p.m. in the 4100 block of Duke Street.

The incident occurred near single family homes in the area of the intersection of Duke and S. French Street.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the Alexandria Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

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The scene of a crash outside Jefferson Houston Elementary School, March 29, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Things are about to slow down in school zones.

The Alexandria School Board on Thursday (October 6) unanimously approved a resolution requesting a reduction from 25 miles per hour to 15 mph in school zones.

“We are really making our students and our community safe,” said Board Member Abdel Elnoubi, who wrote the resolution. “We’re helping save lives here.”

The resolution now goes to City Council for approval.

The following school zones have 25 mph speed limits:

  • N. Beauregard Street — Outside the John Adams Elementary School, William Ramsay Elementary School and Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School zones
  • Braddock Road from N. Beauregard Street to Quaker Lane — Outside Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard Campus school zone
  • Seminary Road (Kenmore Avenue to N. Pickett Street) — In the Francis C. Hammond Middle School zone
  • King Street — Alexandria City High School’s school zone

City Council will also review a plan to install Alexandria’s first speed cameras in school zones later this month.

The conversation over a speed limit reduction and cameras installation began after a nine-year-old girl was hit by a car and seriously injured just outside Jefferson-Houston Elementary School in March.

The scene of a crash outside Jefferson Houston Elementary School, March 29, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)
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