Monday, February 27, 2017

Train Incident on 2-26-17

For Immediate Release

On Sunday, February 26th, at approximately 8:20 PM, the Abingdon Police Department was dispatched to the railroad grade crossing on Trigg Street in reference to a pedestrian being struck by a westbound train. Witness accounts indicated that the pedestrian made contact with the front of the train approximately 100 feet east of the designated grade crossing. Officers searched the area and found the victim on the railroads tracks, approximately 200 feet west of the designated grade crossing. The deceased victim was identified as a 17 year old juvenile from Bristol, VA.

The Abingdon Police Department, Abingdon Fire Department, and the Washington County Life Saving Crew all responded to the incident. The Abingdon Police Department investigators will document the incident, and their findings will be turned over to Norfolk Southern Railway Company Police to aid in their investigation.

The incident is still under investigation by Norfolk Southern Railway Company.

Norfolk Southern Railway Company opened the rail crossings at 2:00 AM at Trigg Street and Deadmore Street.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Vulture Dispersal FAQ

Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

Around this time of year, Abingdon sees an increase in the number of vultures due to weather patterns. The Abingdon Police Department has compiled some frequently asked questions in regards to the dispersal of the vultures and how to keep them from roosting on your property.

Vulture Dispersal FAQ

Vultures serve an important function in our environment. Without vultures our yards and roads would be littered with rotting, stinking, animal carcasses. Occasionally, vultures select roosting locations that cause property damage. Effective dispersal of vultures from these roosts can benefit both residents and vultures in the long term.

·         Vulture Damage Management Fact Sheet (pdf)
·         USDA's Wildlife Damage Management website

What can I do to discourage vultures from roosting in my yard?

There are several things you can do to make your yard less attractive as a roosting place for vultures: 
·         Ensure that you are not inadvertently attracting the vultures. Common attractions include open containers of pet food, uncovered garbage cans, and pet food bowls.
·         Remove any dead trees that make convenient perches for vultures.
·         Use humane perch deterrents, like motion-activated sprinklers or lights.

Where can I find more information about vultures?

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website has excellent information about both species of vulture, including conservation information: 
·         Black Vulture
·         Turkey Vulture

How can I tell the difference between a Turkey Vulture and a Black Vulture?

Turkey Vultures are larger, weighing about 4-5 pounds, with a wingspan of 6 feet. The Turkey Vulture’s most distinctive feature is its bright red, featherless head. In flight, a Turkey Vulture often appears to be “wobbling” and, from underneath, all of the flight feathers are light colored. Black Vultures are smaller, weighing less than 4 pounds, with a wingspan of 5 feet or less. The Black Vulture’s head is grey and featherless, but larger in proportion than the Turkey Vultures. Viewed in flight, only the outer flight feathers of the Black Vulture are white.

Are my pets safe?

Vultures are carrion eaters. They eat animals that are already dead, preferring animals that have been dead for two to four days. However, there have been occasional reports of Black Vultures preying upon small, live, relatively defenseless animals. There are no accounts of Turkey Vultures preying upon live animals.

Won’t the vultures naturally leave on their own?

Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures are migratory birds. However, as their populations increase, their range has increased as well. We typically see both species in the Abingdon area year-round. Because of our location, we see their numbers increase from November through early February as they follow the weather patterns. In colder periods, they move farther south, in warmer periods, farther north.  Our climate makes for a good wintering location. As it gets warmer, non-resident flocks tend to move farther north.

Vultures aren’t new to this area. What has changed?

Vultures are highly adaptive creatures. Unlike some types of wildlife that shy away from human contact, vultures have adapted to the human environment – perhaps a bit too well. Their behavior can be destructive. They have been known to tear window and roof caulking, vent seals, shingles, rubber seals on car windshields, windshield wipers and other soft, rubbery materials. Their excrement is acidic and may damage painted surfaces and landscaping. The birds also regurgitate a smelly, acidic vomit.

It is possible that as stands of trees in backyards and parks have matured, the birds have become more attracted to these areas for their nightly roosting. When the birds congregate in large numbers (we have seen groups of more than 100 birds) in backyards, the result is that homeowners experience property damage and have concerns about the accumulations of excrement and vomit.

What is the Town doing to address the vulture issue?

With consent of the property owner, the police department can disturb the roost in the evening hours as the birds prepare to settle for the night.  This is accomplished through pyrotechnic noise makers.  However, roost time usually coincides with the busiest times of the day for the police, commuter hours. Our priority is public safety and traffic.  Because of this, we often are unable to keep the regular schedule necessary to convince the birds to change roosts. The pyrotechnics also create a fire hazard, so we will not deploy during extremely dry periods, windy conditions, or when a burn ban is in effect.

Nothing prohibits a private land owner from contacting a professional wildlife specialist to disturb the roosts at owner expense.  This is often the most efficient method.

Will the Town kill any vultures?

No. The pyrotechnics used to disturb them at roost time are annoying to the birds. As a result, they will try to move to another roosting location.

Can I use fireworks to disturb the birds?

No.  Section 27-94 of the Virginia code (Statewide Fire Prevention Code Act) prohibits consumer use of fireworks. As used in the code "Fireworks" means "any firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket, or other substance or object, of whatever form or construction, that contains any explosive or inflammable compound or substance, and is intended, or commonly known as fireworks, and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air."

I have lots of vultures roosting in my backyard. Can I pay an exterminator to kill or trap the birds?

Vultures are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The birds, their nests and eggs cannot be killed or destroyed without a permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service. 


Monday, February 6, 2017

Abingdon Police Department Monthly Reports- 2017

The Abingdon Police Department is continuously trying to improve our services to the public. As part of that effort, we will now post our monthly reports for you to view. Click the links below to access each report- 



Friday, February 3, 2017

TRAFFIC ALERT: Change in Traffic Pattern at Russell Road and Valley Street

Abingdon Police Department


For Immediate Release


Due to the accident at the intersection of Russell Road and Valley Street yesterday, the traffic lights will be out of service for seven (7) to ten (10) days. Stop signs have been installed making this intersection a three-way stop. We ask that you obey all traffic laws related to a three-way stop intersection in this area. Please share this information and advise everyone of the change to the traffic pattern.