Northern Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge Awards Presented

Local police and special law enforcement agencies awarded for best traffic safety programs in the state.

Impaired driving, occupant protection and speed awareness impact the safety of Virginia roadways. The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) Law Enforcement Challenge is a traffic safety recognition program that recognizes agencies that excel in keeping their roadways safe. Last week, VACP announced multiple Northern Virginia police agencies recipients of the 2019 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge awards for the best traffic safety programs in the state in 2018. The Virginia law enforcement community consists of 125 city and county sheriff's offices, 242 police departments and seven state police divisions within 48 areas of the state according to the 2018 Virginia Highway Safety Plan, Annual Report Fiscal Year 2018 by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

According to the report, while a data comparison of Jan. 1 – Nov. 30: 2015 vs. 2018 revealed a 7 percent increase in Virginia fatalities, 689 to 737, there was a 12 percent decrease in serious injuries, 7430 to 6569, and an 8 percent decrease in unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities, 277 to 254 respectively.

VACP named the first, second and third place state winners during an awards luncheon that took place during its 94th Annual Training Conference on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at the Hilton Norfolk. VACP also presented special awards for outstanding enforcement and education efforts in the areas of occupant protection, impaired driving, speed awareness, commercial motor vehicle safety, distracted driving, technology, bicycle/pedestrian safety, and motorcycle safety, as well as the Commonwealth Award for the Best Overall Traffic Safety Program in Virginia 2018, regardless of agency size or type and special awards.

LOCAL NORTHERN VIRGINIA WINNERS of the 2019 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge were

Municipal Police:

Herndon Police Department - First Place, Category 2: 26-60 Officers

Arlington County Police Department - First Place, Category 5: 301-600 Officers

Alexandria Police Department - Second Place, Category 5: 301-600 Officers

Fairfax County Police Department - Second Place, Category 6: 601 or More Officers

Special Law Enforcement:

Metro Washington Airports Authority Police Department (MWAA) - First Place

VACP also recognized MWAA with the Distracted Driving Award and recognized Herndon Police Department with the two additional awards, the Commonwealth Award for the Best Overall Traffic Safety Program in Virginia and the Impaired Driving Award. Although representatives from most of the recognized agencies attended the awards luncheon, representatives of Fairfax County Police Department did not.

AWARDS were based on entries prepared by the participating agencies, which highlighted their traffic safety education and enforcement activities in occupant protection, impaired driving and speed over the past calendar year, according to VACP. Judges gave points to the agencies in six areas — problem identification, policies, planning, training of officers, public information and education, enforcement, and an evaluation of the outcomes of the agency's efforts.

The Herndon Police Department issued the statement: "We were both incredibly honored and surprised this year to receive three awards in the Virginia Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Challenge for traffic safety enforcement and education. We were notified in advance that we were awarded first place in our agency size category, but we had no idea HPD would receive the Commonwealth Award for the most outstanding traffic division statewide, regardless of size and also be recognized for our efforts in combating impaired driving. We could not be more proud of the efforts put forth by our officers who work very hard each day to keep our roadways and our citizens safe. Traffic and pedestrian safety will continue to be a focus for HPD as development and roadway improvements increase both in the Town of Herndon and around it."

The Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge Awards program is supported by a grant from the Virginia Highway Safety Office. The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation is a statewide organization of federal, state and local police chiefs and law enforcement executives dedicated to improving the professionalism of police agencies in Virginia. The Association was founded in 1926 and has more than 600 members.

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