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Mayor Justin Wilson says its time to take a step back and reassess Alexandria’s approach to student safety.

In a joint City Council meeting with the School Board on Monday night (June 13), Wilson said that the community needs to be educated on how the city and school system plan to make schools safer.

“I do think part of this conversation is to step back, because I don’t think there’s many communities around the country that invest the amount that we do in the very ways that we do in our kids, and clearly we still have kids slipping through the cracks in this institution. That’s sobering for us all.”

Wilson and Gaskins presented the Board with a draft memo that will start a “rigorous engagement” program to talk with youth and parents to “learn what is at the root of youth trauma and violence, and act.”

Wilson said that it’s been an interesting last several weeks since the fatal stabbing of Alexandria City High School Senior Luis Mejia Hernandez on May 24. He also said that there is no one single solution, but that a coordinated approach on improving students safety is about creating a public process and approach to solving the issue.

“I don’t mean to be negative on this, but I’m doubtful that in this effort we will determine some kind of magic thing that we have never thought of,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we’ll have anything like that. But I think it’ll be a conversation around how we provide services, scale, scope, how we target things, and where the need is, and I hope that as we have that conversation, we’ll learn more about the effectiveness of what we do today, rather than unnecessarily (try) dramatically new things.”

Council will discuss the memo at its meeting tonight (June 14).

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., who announced his resignation last Friday, did not attend the meeting, and is out of the office until June 21.

Board Chair Meagan Alderton said that the Board needs to improve its efforts to inform to community on ACPS activities.

“I agree,” Alderton said. “I do think we need to do a better job as a Board of educating the community about what actually happens in our schools, because I think that could also shift the conversation. People are making guesses all the time. It becomes counterproductive to what we’re actually trying to do. I second that 100%. I think that there’s an educational component to all of this, so that people just know what’s happening.”

Gaskins said that the memo does not specifically outline City departments for certain projects, since it is the duty of the city and its multiple departments to work collaboratively. She also wants there to be a student summit at some point in the near future to discuss coping with the pandemic and violence-related traumas.

“I think it really is a starting point and call to action to give space for us to listen to our young people, hear what they have to say, be able to evaluate what we’re doing, identify the things that we’re not doing and then put in place a plan that we are holding ourselves accountable to,” Gaskins said at the meeting. “I think this is really an opportunity to think about: How do we activate multiple departments? How do we activate and normalize every resource we have available to ensure the health and safety of our young people?”

School Board Member Abdel Elnoubi said he would do everything to help Council in the effort.

“Politicians and and leaders are looked at as good ones when they can articulate and speak, but we really need some time for people how much we should be listening as well,” Elnoubi said. “Thank you so much for doing this. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out.”

Former Sheriff Dana Lawhorne watched the meeting from home.

“I’m glad that our City Council and School Board had a robust discussion tonight about the safety and wellbeing of our youth,” Lawhorne said. “I’m encouraged by the plan put forward by Councilwoman Gaskins and Mayor Wilson. We all need to do our part to support it.”

According to a school safety report released in March, 18 ACPS students were arrested in the first two quarters of this school year, in addition to 41 reported fights/assaults and 13 seized weapons. The weapons seized include a gun, five knives, a stun gun, two fake weapons, and pepper spray. Students also filmed dozens of fights and posted them on social media.

At tonight’s meeting, Council will also consider designating former School Board Member Chris Lewis as its designee to the proposed 16-person School Law Enforcement Partnership (SLEP) Advisory Group. That group will make a recommendation this fall to the interim-Superintendent (or new Superintendent) on the future role of school resource officers at Alexandria City High School and Francis C. Hammond and George Washington Middle Schools.

Separately, Council will also consider passing a gun violence prevention resolution, which encourages the school system to “review school curriculum, safety protocols, and professional development” related to gun safety and suicide prevention, as well as the scheduling of School Board work sessions before the start of the 2022-2023 school year to review those measures.

According to the memo:

In the short-term the Alexandria Police Department will continue its work to investigate recent acts of violence and provide appropriate security interventions to make future acts of violence less likely. To sustainably support the resiliency of our youth and prevent violence, we need to listen as much as we talk. We must engage a diverse range of stakeholders to listen to the experiences of our young people and center their voices, learn what is at the root of youth trauma and violence, and act. With this rigorous engagement, we can design and refine the systems and reforms required to:

  • Address youth trauma and mental health
  • Coordinate across sectors to identify challenges, needs, and opportunities
  • Develop sustainable strategies to align services and existing initiatives
  • Identify metrics and transparent processes to hold ourselves accountable
  • Target investments at identified gaps
  • Prioritize equity
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“Extremely problematic,” “inappropriate,” and “disrespectful” was how Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said School Board members handled edits of his plan to create a School Law Enforcement Advisory Group.

In a March 9 email, Hutchings scolded a majority of School Board Members — Michelle Rief, Ashley Simpson-Baird, Adbel Elnoubi, Kelly Carmichael Booz and Chris Harris — for editing his SLEP proposal. He said that such “behind the scenes” operations raised transparency issues by violating the Virginia Freedom Of Information Act.

“I believe that this approach is extremely problematic, inappropriate, disrespectful and most of all not aligned with our legal board practices,” Hutchings wrote. “SLEP is not an action item for the board and I’m not understanding why this is being presented to me this way. I believe some of the points in the document are welcome revisions; however, I hope that this will not be shared with our team tonight at the meeting.”

The 16-person SLEP advisory group will begin meeting in May or June to develop feedback recommendations for Hutchings on the future of the controversial school resource officer program within ACPS.

The group will send back their recommendations in a report in December. ACPS is now in the process of going through a solicitation process to hire a meeting facilitator.

The email was sent shortly before Hutchings and staff presented the Board with the first draft of the SLEP proposal on March 10. The edited draft circulated by the Members have some recommendations that stuck around in the final proposal, including adding a SLEP link to the ACPS website for community information.

At that March 10 Board meeting, Hutchings said: “This is our first time having a public discussion about this partnership and having a public discussion around this particular information that we’re sharing out and we’re sharing that with the board.”

The Board is allowed to discuss their positions on issues with each other outside meetings.

“I didn’t come here to uphold the status quo or be a rubber stamp,” Elnoubi said. “There’s nothing wrong with members sharing and discussing ideas outside the board room as long as as long as it’s in a one on one setting to abide by the ‘Sunshine Laws’ and that’s what we did. In this situation here when I see a proposal that continues to marginalize people of color like me, I have an obligation to speak up.”

According to the Board’s operating procedures:

The School Board transacts all business at Board meetings, and does not vote by secret or written ballot. However, nothing prohibits separately contacting the membership, or any part thereof, of the School Board for the purpose of ascertaining a member’s position with respect to the transaction of public business, whether such contact is done in person, by telephone or by electronic communication, provided the contact is done on a basis that does not constitute a meeting under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Board Member Tammy Ignacio was not pleased to receive the edited document in a Board-wide email before the March 10 meeting from Harris, who asked that Board members look at it for discussion. Ignacio said she was not privy to the edited recommendations, and that they equated to “backstabbing” from her colleagues.

“We can’t openly expect to bring data forward when we’re backstabbing our own Board and making decisions and writing memos and editing them for our own specific purpose,” Ignacio said at the March 10 meeting. “And if that is the way that this Board is planning to run, I don’t want to be a part of it. Transparency. Do not stand up here in front of our public and our children and our staff and talk about transparency when you’re going behind the backs of other Board members and creating memos and editing them. It is unacceptable. It is unprofessional.”

Booz then failed in a 4-4-1 vote to get the advisory group to report directly to the Board instead of the Superintendent.

Simpson-Baird said on March 10 that ACPS has one chance to get the issue right.

“We have one chance to get community input and go through a very thorough processthat we all know didn’t happen over the past year,” she said at the March 10 meeting. “I know that’s where a lot of our our passions come from.”

On March 14, Hutchings provided the Board with a refresher on their operating procedures, which include not talking to the media.

Hutchings’ full March 9 to the School Board is below the jump.

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The Alexandria School Board gave its blessing to Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. on Thursday night (April 21) to form an advisory group to make recommendations on the controversial school resource officer program within Alexandria City Public Schools.

The 16-person school law enforcement partnership (SLEP) advisory group will be made up of students, ACPS administrators, Alexandria Police and members of the community. The group will evaluate the partnership between ACPS and police for the school resource officer program, and also on school safety initiatives, and deliver a report in December.

Hutchings does not want the meetings to be public or recorded, although he said minutes from the meetings would be provided to the Board. A link with SLEP information on the ACPS site is also in development, Hutchings said.

“What we want to make sure is happening is that there are authentic conversations happening ,” Hutchings told the Board. “We need people to be able to feel as if they can have these real discussions without the additional ice or heat or criticism that will come out of that, because people wanting to watch a long meeting like that (are) typically watching to give some type of constructive criticism. Typically, not always.”

Last month, a report revealed that 18 ACPS students were arrested in the first two quarters of this school year, in addition to 41 reported fights/assaults and 13 seized weapons. The weapons seized include a gun, five knives, a stun gun, two fake weapons, and pepper spray.

Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard Campus at 3801 W. Braddock Road was evacuated on Friday, Dec. 10, after a bomb threat. Here, Alexandria Police and a Bomb Dog look for anything suspicious outside the school. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Transparency issues

Member Kelly Carmichael Booz said that compiling the report behind closed doors raises transparency issues.

“I completely understand the challenges and the concern about making sure that folks feel comfortable to have open and frank conversations,” Booz said. “We also are in the business of transparency and making sure that we have access to the information that’s being provided. I do think we need to strike that balance there.”

Last month, Booz failed in a 4-4-1 vote to get the SLEP advisory group to report directly to the School Board instead of the superintendent, which would have made it a more public process.

Alicia Hart, ACPS executive director of facilities and operations, said that the decision to record meetings will be determined by a meeting facilitator. No facilitator has yet been awarded the contract, although she expects a number of proposals to come in soon.

“I’ll honestly have to defer to the external facilitator in terms of how they feel the meetings are best handled,” Hart said. “I don’t know if that’s the standard for our advisory groups or committees within the division. I don’t want to offer that it would be open to the public. I’d rather the external facilitator have the opportunity to present their framework for how they believe the meeting should occur.”

Board Chair Meagan Alderton said that certain meetings should be public, and others not, although the Board did not come to an official position on the matter.

“I do believe there is a balance to strike,” Alderton said. “We should probably select certain meetings that the public could come and sit in on it just to have that available, just because I don’t think we want to leave any room for being accused of not being open and transparent in that way.”

Hutchings said that there will be a link to the ACPS website regarding the SLEP advisory group.

The SROs — police officers stationed at Alexandria City High School and the city’s two middle schools — were defunded last summer and then brought back in October after Alderton and Hutchings pleaded for their return in the wake of numerous violent incidents with weapons in schools.

Since then, Hutchings has also advised the Board not to talk to the media and co-wrote a book that stated school systems should avoid being racist by abolishing policing practices.

There have been no SROs at Alexandria City High School since both SROs at the school were placed on leave after a “serious complaint” from a former student alleging “sexually inappropriate conversations” while she attended ACHS. Alexandria Police continue to rotate officers in and out of the school on a daily basis.

The SRO program is currently funded through June 30, 2023.

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A six-car Metrorail train hit a contractor work unit and derailed in the Alexandria Rail Yard in 2020 because an interlocking train operator was watching a movie trailer on an electronic device.

There were no injuries, but the February 10, 2020, incident is included in a scathing audit of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority by the Washington Metropolitan Safety Commission, which found “a culture that accepts noncompliance with written operational rules, instructions, and manuals.”

The audit identified several “safety gaps” related to staff training and certification requirements. It was compiled by WMSC staff and led by Chief Executive Officer David Mayer, and 14 recommendations were issued after finding that the transit system is “not meeting its own written requirements, does not have adequate procedures, processes or requirements, or does not have adequate training, coordination and supervision.”

The Alexandria Rail Yard incident occurred a month before the WMATA would be rocked by the pandemic and largely suspend its services. The operator was retrained on proper communication procedures 10 days after the incident, and a 2020 report detailing the incident outlines existing issues WMSC found with the transit system in the recent audit — namely a lack of proper training, radio protocols and oversight.

“In addition to this example at Alexandria Rail Yard, RTRA (the Office of Rail Transportation) managers interviewed for this audit were not familiar with the existence of hazard logs that Metrorail submitted to the WMSC as part of this audit, and several managers were not sure what hazards are supposed to be reported to them,” the audit determined.

Lack of oversight and training

The audit also found that WMATA is “not effectively training and certifying personnel authorized to operate trains on all active railcar fleets,” and that staff operate with outdated copies of Metrorail’s Safety Rules and Procedures Handbook.

The audit revealed “confusion related to the proper signals and rail alignment” at the King Street-Old Town Metro station in February 2021. A train operator incorrectly followed a route set for the Huntington station, and an investigation determined that the engineer for the territory had “inadequate training.”

“Metrorail does not effectively identify, track, communicate and address operational hazards as required by its Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan,” the audit found.

The audit recommends that Metro must develop better training procedures for personnel, and replace safety equipment with expired calibration dates, including electrical safety gloves.

“Metrorail must develop, require, and implement effective territory familiarization and physical characteristics training and take steps such as territory-specific certification to ensure adequate knowledge of physical characteristics prior to assigning operations personnel (such as train operators, rail supervisors, terminal supervisors, and interlocking operators) work on a line, in a terminal or in a yard,” the audit said.

The transit system is now required to develop a corrective action plan for the outlying issues no later than 30 days after release of the audit.

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Body-worn camera (photo via Tony Webster/Flickr)

Alexandria Police will be outfitted with body worn cameras starting this summer, but it won’t be until next year that all officers will be outfitted with the devices.

The $2.2 million program City Manager Jim Parajon presented to Council on Wednesday (March 30) is significantly scaled back cost-wise when compared to a $13 million proposal presented to City Council last year by then-Police Chief Michael Brown.

Parajon says the program , which he has included at Council’s request in his fiscal year 2023 budget, will take a little time to roll out since it requires the hiring of five new attorneys in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, one attorney in the City Attorney’s office, two APD staffers and an IT professional. He expects the program to be at 60%-70% of its intended strength by the end of FY 2023.

“We are proposing to deploy up to 300+ body worn cameras for the police department over the next year,” Parajon told Council. “I think with that available funding we can deploy at the pace at which we’re able to do this well… I think probably by the end of the fiscal year we would be well deployed, but may not be fully deployed until FY24.”

The program is partially funded by a $600,000 Congressional earmark, and Parajon says the city is looking at state and federal grants to cover an estimated $1.5 million-to-$2.5 million in annual budget costs after the initial rollout, which will begin after Council passes the budget in May and the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

“Once we do this, we will have recurring expenditures, and they’re significant,” Parajon said.

City Council Member Sarah Bagley is concerned about training the officers.

“I just wanted to make sure we have a robust training program,” Bagley said. “How to turn them (the cameras) on, how to turn them off… and that it is an ongoing investment that offciers have an opportunity at the beginning, and then repeatedly as necessary, to get refreshers.”

Parajon said training has been built into the budget, and that the hardest part of the programs aren’t the cameras.

“We’ll do everything as scale,” Parajon said. “And if that means that we deploy 200 cameras, we’re going to do that if we need, and we’ll scale up collectively as we can do it, but I do think the numbers that I’ve proposed are substantial enough, and I’m confident that’s a good way to go at this point and we where we are late in FY ’23 to see if there’s a need to do a little bit more than that.”

Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr

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(Updated at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 3) Alexandria City Manager Jim Parajon wants to be able to reduce speed limits from 25 miles per hour to 15 mph in business and residential districts.

The proposal is part of the city’s efforts to pilot slow zones in residence districts, and goes before City Council on Tuesday, March 8. The City Manager already has the authority to reduce the speed limit, just not to 15 mph.

While there would not be any “immediate or direct impact on existing speed limits in the City,” the proposal gives Parajon the ability to decrease the speed limit and “establish differential speeds for daytime and nighttime driving on such streets, provided that any such increase or decrease in speed limit, or differential speed limit, shall be based upon an engineering and traffic investigation by the director of transportation and environmental services.”

The move comes three months after the City reduced the speed limit on Seminary Road from 35 mph to 25 mph. Last fall, there were a number of crashes involving pedestrians, including a man killed in the West End and a 13-year old struck while walking home in Del Ray.

According to the city:

This legislation enables the City to begin piloting “slow zones” in Alexandria, which typically include a combination of lower speed limits and traffic calming treatments such as speed cushions, curb extensions, and signage. Alexandria has committed to making streets safer through its Vision Zero program, which identifies speeding as one of the most pressing community concerns related to safety. Staff will not immediately consider individual requests outside of slow zone areas for speed limit reductions on neighborhood streets to less than 25mph. Should there be an eventual desire to reduce speed limits outside of slow zones, staff will develop a process for identifying which streets would qualify.

Alexandria’s Vision Zero Plan has the goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and injuries by 2028.

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SoberRide flyer, courtesy Washington Regional Alcohol Program

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is bringing back its SoberRide program this weekend to offer a safe alternative to drinking and driving.

The Halloween SoberRide will be operational from 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, to 4 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31. During this time, any area resident 21 or older can use the SoberRide code in the “promo” section of the app and get a no-cost trip of up to $15 to get home. The code will be posted at 7 p.m. on the SoberRide website.

“Well over one-third (41%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities during Halloween from 2015 to 2019 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s President, in a press release.

The press release noted that the program is available in D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlinton, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties in Virginia. A representative of the company told ALXnow that it’s also available in Alexandria.

The program wasn’t running last year due to COVID-19, but in 2019 the release said 1,122 people in the D.C.-area used SoberRide. The program is also available on St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day and the winter holidays.

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Metal detectors are not being considered at Alexandria City Public Schools.

After a rocky start to the school year with multiple students caught bringing weapons to Alexandria City High School, the issue has been publicly raised more than a few times in recent weeks.

In the October 12 City Council meeting where school resource officers were returned to ACHS, George Washington Middle School and Hammond Middle School, City Councilman John Taylor Chapman asked School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., about metal detectors.

“It hurts to think that we have to have metal detectors in our schools, because we’ve never had to have them,” replied Alderton. “How many entrances would we have to have… It doesn’t feel right.”

Violent incidents have overshadowed the school year so far, including a recent shooting of a student down the street from ACHS at the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center, a student being arrested with a gun on ACHS grounds, a student being arrested with a knife at ACHS, a firecracker incident that led to the evacuation of a football game, brawls inside ACHS and George Washington Middle School and more.

Ricardo Roberts, a District B candidate for the School Board, made an impassioned plea for metal detectors to the Board in last week’s public comment period. It wasn’t the first time that Roberts has pressed the Board on the issue, and he promised it would not be the last.

“The metal detectors deter kids from continuing to bring in knives and guns and weapons into our school,” Roberts said, adding that it was he who asked Chapman to bring up the subject at the Oct. 12 meeting.

Hutchings said he does not support metal detectors, although the school system’s safety and security team are exploring various options within school facilities.

Mo Canady, president of the National Association of School Resource Officers, doesn’t think metal detectors are the answer. He also said that anyone who didn’t think there would be an increase in violence and student mental health issues coming into this school year “had their heads in the sand somewhere.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind, and common sense should tell us all this, that law enforcement presence deters criminal activity,” Canady said. “The problem with metal detectors is that they provide a false sense of security.”

Canady continued, “You’ve got to make sure that you’re hiring highly capable people to manage those metal detectors. Those detectors need to be constantly maintained, and your people need to be constantly trained and updated. Also, these metal detectors are probably going to be at the primary entrance. What about all the other perimeter doors of the school building? I’ve been around school buildings that have 100+ perimeter doors. What’s to stop someone from opening the door for someone else to bring something in, and I’ve been around schools all over the country. This goes on all day long. Kids, even teachers are constantly opening those perimeter doors.”

A 2019 study by the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center found that, “metal detectors may provide a visible response to concerns about school safety, (but) there is little evidence to support their effectiveness at preventing school shootings or successfully detecting weapons at schools.”

The study found, by looking beyond schools to airport security, that some airports had fail rates as high as 95% on screening checks for weapons.

“On the whole, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) averaged around 80 percent in failing to identify weapons during metal detector searches that same year,” the study concluded.

Alexandria could likely get partial state funding to pay for metal detectors via School Security Equipment Grants. Last year, the state awarded $12 million to 489 schools, including $250,000 to Alexandria for security upgrades at Cora Kelly Elementary School, George Washington Middle School, Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School, William Ramsay Elementary School and Alexandria City High School. In years past, the grants also funded metal detectors in public schools throughout Virginia.

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What an absorbing week in Alexandria.

Just as the ball gets rolling with reopening and loosened restrictions, the pandemic rears its ugly head. With coronavirus transmission levels climbing, Alexandria is once again recommending that residents go back to wearing face masks indoors.

Our weekly poll found that 37% of respondents (337 votes) don’t plan to wear masks indoors again unless required, 32% (291 votes) never stopped wearing masks and plan to continue, and 30% (275 votes) stopped wearing masks indoors and plan to start again.

In the meantime, Three Dog Night, Tanya Tucker, and more are scheduled to play at the Birchmere next month, and the Little Theatre of Alexandria has gone back to in-person performances with its latest farce, Neil Simon’s Rumors. The city’s annual sidewalk sale is also on track to be largest ever, with participation from more than 70 local boutiques on the pedestrian-only blocks between 700 and 1100 King Street.

Turning toward the Olympics, Alexandria boxer Troy Isley won his first contest earlier this week, but lost his second match in a close split decision on Thursday night. Next week, Alexandria City High School will host a watch party for alumnus star sprinter Noah Lyles, who is the favorite to win the gold medal in the 200 meter race.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria car dealership receptionist busted for alleged credit card fraud
  2. One year of lane closures in Potomac Yard starts today
  3. Man arrested after armed carjacking in West End
  4. BREAKING: Potomac Yard Metro opening pushed back to September 2022
  5. New Potomac Yard luxury condo community sells 30% of properties before construction starts
  6. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  7. Local Democrat challenges Rep. Don Beyer in 8th District Primary
  8. Cigar and vape shop to open on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray
  9. EXCLUSIVE: Halal slaughterhouse opens, gives away free chickens for first two days in business
  10. Without School Resource Officers, Superintendent wants more private security inside and police patrolling outside
  11. Poll: Do you plan on wearing a mask indoors again?

Have a safe weekend!

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Without school resource officers and the next school year starting in less than a month, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. has a plan to beef up security.

Hutchings and staff, on July 16, sent the School Board a three-page proposal acknowledging serious security implications, including “increased vulnerability at school sites, decreased deterrence of situations such as active threats to students, staff and visitors.”

Council voted 4-3 in May to redirect nearly $800,000 in SRO funding toward student mental health resources, a vote that has since been decried by the School Board. The reallocation means there will be no police presence at Alexandria City High School, Francis C. Hammond Middle School and George Washington Middle School.

“Please note that this decision only affords ACPS approximately three months to establish a contingency plan with regards to safety and security mitigations for our students and staff in the midst of our summer learning and reopening for fall during a global pandemic,” Hutchings told the Board in the report.

The options are to hire five more additional security officers for an estimated $185,000; pay detailed police officers $50 an hour to work the perimeter of a school location from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Hutchings’ option, which is a combination of the first two options.

“This option would allow for additional SSO’s to provide supplemental safety coverage and for detailed officer support in frequently patrolling the exterior of facilities,” the staff report said.

Mayor Justin Wilson voted in the minority against eliminating SROs, and previously told ALXnow that he is “dismayed” by the deteriorated relationship between Council and the Board resulting from the decision.

In the meantime, acting Police Chief Don Hayes said that the officers have been put back into patrol operations, and hopes a new memorandum of understanding will be signed with ACPS before school starts.

“Students are going to be students, and we will have things in place to ensure that schools are safe,” Hayes said.

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