New Urbanism Severely Stressing Arlington Police and OEM Resources
The County Board held a work session with Arlington Police Chief Murray Farr and Arlington Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown yesterday afternoon. To the surprise of no one who works at 2100 Clarendon Blvd., both Chief Farr and Director Brown told the County Board that the Police Department and Office of Emergency Management are severely stressed, largely as a consequence of so-called New Urbanism.
Although Arlington's population has grown by about 20,000 over the past 17 years, the Police Department has fewer officers than in 1998. Demands by Homeland Security have signficantly reduced the number of the Department's patrol officers.
Most problematic is the amount of mandatory police overtime generated because of pub crawls and similar Millennial events in Clarendon, Ballston, and Rosslyn. OEM Director Brown reported his staff are similarly stressed because of the increase in the number of calls for service. Cell phones are currently the source of 75% of the calls to 911.
Obviously, the County Board is going to have to increase Police Department funding in the FY 17 Budget. The Arlington Fire Department will hold a working session with the County Board in the near future and it's expected that the Acting Fire Chief will report that Fire and EMS resources are even more stressed than the Police and OEM.
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