Monday, July 31, 2017

Law Enforcement And Mental Health

Abingdon Police Department 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The week of July 23rd- 29th, 2017, the Abingdon Police Department responded to seven mental health calls. These cases came at the following costs:

77.5 hours were spent waiting in the ER for patient clearance and patient transport.  This translates in to 77.5 hours that were not spent patrolling our streets. In short, out of the 168 hour week, the citizens of Abingdon experienced a reduced officer presence for almost 1/2 of the week.

1,406.6 miles were spent in patient transport.  Our officers average approximately 135 miles per shift. This equates to 10 shifts of patrol time that were spent elsewhere in the Commonwealth, as opposed to patrolling to enhance the safety for the citizens of Abingdon.

$2,368.64 at a direct cost to tax payers.  The time, expense, and mileage costs are not reimbursed by any agency. These costs come directly from the police department budget. There is no provision in law for the department to seek reimbursement from the Commonwealth or insurance companies.

It is my hope that the legislature will address this issue, for good, in the next legislative session.  The putting patients in the back of patrol cars and driving them across the state for treatment is not the answer.  It stigmatizes the issues of mental health, is uncomfortable for the patient, creates mistrust in the patient's view of law enforcement, and reduces the safety of our communities.  The answer is not in how far away treatment is, but how close should it be.  We need to remove the police from the mental health equation.  Other states seem to have solved this equation years ago; I would think there are models out there to follow.

-Chief Sullivan

WCYB story on SWVa. law enforcement exhaust resources transporting mental health patients.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Virginia Highlands Festival Pedestrian Traffic

Abingdon Police Department


For Immediate Release

TRAFFIC ADVISORY:

During the VA Highlands Festival (Friday, July 28th, 2017-Sunday, August 6th, 2017), please be alert for heavy pedestrian traffic in front of the Barter Theatre (127 West Main Street). This area will experience greater pedestrian use because of the festival access point at Partington Place.

With the warmer weather and the festival events, the APD wants to remind the public about pedestrian safety. Here are some helpful hints to remember:

Pedestrians:

·       Press activation button at the crosswalk in front of the Barter theater and wait for traffic to stop.
·       Always cross at marked crosswalks. Pedestrians forfeit their rights as a pedestrian if they cross elsewhere.
·       If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find a well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
·       Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers and afford pedestrians with the opportunity to take evasive actions if needed.
·       Obey any pedestrian signs/signals and look left-right-left to make sure the road is clear in both directions before crossing.
·       Always make eye contact with drivers of stopped or slowing vehicles to be sure they see you before you cross.
·       Look before walking past stopped vehicles. Do not cross just because a driver waves you on. Be sure all lanes are clear first.
·       Remember that vehicles are legally obligated to stop for pedestrians once you are in the crosswalk.  Do not infer that drivers have to stop simply because you are standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross.

Motorists:

·       Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections.
·       Be prepared to stop at all marked crosswalks. Stay alert and reduce speed in areas with crosswalks.
·       Come to a complete stop if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross.
·       When you are stopped at a crosswalk, allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians you have stopped for.
·       Be watchful for pedestrians and doors opening on the street side from parked cars. 
·       Limit distractions while driving, such as eating, smoking, and using the cell phone.




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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2017 VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS FESTIVAL INFORMATION

Abingdon Police Department

                                               

For Immediate Release

2017 Virginia Highlands Festival Information

The annual Virginia Highlands Festival will be held Friday, July 28th, 2017 through Sunday, August 6th, 2017 in Abingdon. The arts and crafts section of the festival has been moved to the Barter Green across from the Barter Theatre. Music events will be held at the Abingdon Market Pavilion on Remsburg Drive. The antiques market will be located at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.

Road Closures for the event:

Partington Place at East Main Street will be closed each day from Main Street to the exit of the Martha Washington Inn's parking lot from 09:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. between July 28th and August 6th.

Remsburg Drive will be closed from the Farmer's Market to Cummings Street on the following dates and times:

·         July 28th at 4:00 P.M. to July 30th at 11:00 P.M.

·         August 1st at 4:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.

·         August 3rd at 4:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.

·         August 5th at 4:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.

Parking:

The Abingdon Police Department wants to remind festival visitors of parking restrictions. Like all t tourist communities, Abingdon has several parking regulations that you should be familiar with to avoid subjecting yourself to an unwanted fine. 

To assist you in planning your visit, the following parking restrictions are provided for your information. 

In the Town of Abingdon, it is unlawful to:

1.         Park Overtime – OVERTIME parking is enforced Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm. It is NOT enforced on weekends (Saturday and Sunday). 
2.         Block a driveway.
3.         Park so the parked vehicle partially blocks a driveway.
4.         Block an intersection.
5.         Park so the parked vehicle encroaches an intersection.
6.         Park in a space designated by signage as a “Bus Stop.”
7.         Park so that the left (driver’s) side of a vehicle is against the curbing of the roadway. This is commonly called “Parking Against the Traffic Flow” or “Parking Against the Flow” and is our most common violation.
8.         Park in a loading zone.
9.         Park in a space designated “No Parking.”
10.       Park in any alley.
11.       Park on a sidewalk.
12.       Park so the vehicle occupies a portion of two marked parking spaces.

Parking will be limited and in high demand.  Street parking is available at the municipal parking lot (across from Ellis Soda Shop) and is free to the public.  However, these spaces will fill quickly.  To accommodate visitors, there is free parking at Heartwood (exit 14) and at Roses (exit 19).  A shuttle will run from the parking areas between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day.  You can avoid the traffic downtown by parking at Heartwood or Roses and taking the shuttle to event locations around Abingdon.

Coolers:
Coolers are not allowed inside the festival area.


The APD warmly welcomes your visit to our community.  We hope that your visit will be greeted with smiling faces and a friendly atmosphere.