New Pool ID Regulations Require Photos for All, Including Children

by Dave Emke January 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 44 Comments

Glade Pool/File photo

Reston residents applying for pool and tennis passes for the coming season are being asked to include photographs — even for children as young as 1.

The new rule for 2017 is meant to increase security, but one resident who contacted Reston Now wonders if it might have the opposite effect.

“Requiring photo[s] of children seems like quite a liability to me,” the resident, a father of two young children, said in communication with Member Services that he shared. “If someone hacks [RA’s] systems they have pictures of all of our children and now knows where they live so they can choose which one to kidnap.”

Photos will only appear in RA’s database, not on the physical card, explained Laura Kowalski, RA’s deputy director of recreation.

I do understand the concern about the kids, but [photos are] not being shared,” she said, adding that she is confident about the security of the system.

Kowalski said photos were printed on passes “many years ago,” but that practice was phased out. In recent years, a few residents have raised concerns about having their addresses printed on them. She said questions about security were taken into account before the new system was settled upon.

When we researched and finally landed on the new registration system with Vermont Systems… we listened to what members’ concerns were about security, as well as how we could mitigate sharing of passes,” Kowalski said.

In 2014, passes being sold on Craigslist to non-residents drew RA’s attention. Passes are not transferable, according to Reston Association rules. Kowalski said she has encountered situations in the past where she knew passes were being misused.

“I’ve been in a pool helping someone by popping in that day, and saying [to a patron] ‘Hi, how are you?'” Kowalski said. “They show me the pass and I think, ‘Huh. I know this person, and you’re not that person.'”

Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, said the new system — including the photo registration — is designed to stop such transfers.

“Under the old system, pass swapping was a concern and RA had no way to prevent it,” he said. “So the new system provides a better, more secure system ensuring only those with a pass can get into the pool facility.”

RA’s new WebTrac online registration system is being used to sell and register pool and tennis passes. Swiping devices are being installed in all 15 RA pool facilities to handle the new system.

Residents will show their pass upon entering a facility. It will be scanned, and the pass holder’s picture will then be displayed to the staff member on duty. If it doesn’t match, entrance will be denied.

“The new system provides greater accountability, reporting data and enhanced member satisfaction and convenience,” said Mike Leone, RA communications director. “Once they have the new pass card, they won’t have to wait in long lines here at RA to obtain their annual passes, which has been the case every year in the past as pool season approaches.”

The concerned resident, though, said he has a simpler solution to the problem.

“Just require that adults bring [photo] ID,” he said. “The TSA doesn’t even require ID for children under 18 and they’re trying to stop terrorism.”

  • Noelle

    I think this is going to be a disaster. First off, I sent my photos in and it took almost two days to get a response – and it’s only January. I also have yet to get Webtrac to work despite trying it on two computers and two browsers – am I the only one having this issue? Simply requiring an ID would be a much simpler solution.

    • VoteForMe

      I’d rather not bring my ID to the pool, somebody will steal it.

      Assuming it cost upwards of about $300,000 to implement the new system, that’s about 10,000 miscreants using their friend’s $30 pass when their friend wasn’t using it.
      Looks like we’re going to need to increase the pool fee in order to recoup the potential loss sooner.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        That doesn’t even begin to address the on-going cost for maintenance of the system. And, considering the semi-exposed nature of the control desks at the pools, I’m betting that wear-and-tear on the equipment at the pools is probably going to be substantial.

  • edder

    How much does this system cost? Are we (Reston) spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop people from entering the pools for free, costing only thousands of dollars of lost revenue?
    Pools are often closed because the land line phones die. Will the pools also close when the id scanners also die?

    • 30yearsinreston

      The consultants told them what to do
      Step 1: brain into neutral

    • The Constitutionalist

      Don’t worry about the costs, you’ll find out when the bill arrives.

      • Butthole

        Don’t be dense you will still be able to see the skin you wanna se creep.

        • The Constitutionalist

          I’m not sure you really understand the context here. I however find you imagining me creeping on people quite disturbing. You should seek help.

          • Sarah

            Your the creepy one

          • The Constitutionalist


  • EliteinReston

    Could the Reston Association partner with Boston Properties and the Dulles Toll Road operators to create a single Reston app so we can have a one-stop place to pay all our fees, assessments and tolls?

    • Mike M

      You beat me to the punch!

      • EliteinReston

        I forgot to add Metro to the one-stop. Heck, we could get Starbucks to sponsor the card and they could take money from us too.

      • EliteinReston

        I forgot to add Metro to the one-stop. Heck, we could get Starbucks to sponsor the app and they could take money from us too.

        • Greg

          And the bike rental fees.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Is it April 1?
      These incompetents can’t even manage a simple task without screwing it up

      Dont forget them at election time

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Huge overreach by RA. Somehow, I don’t see a few pool scofflaws as a reason to make everybody endure the cost and inconvenience of submitting a picture.

    We could take this one step farther. How are they going to know that I am submitting my picture for a pass? I think for giggles, I’m going to submit Mrs. M’s picture with my application and my picture with the Ms. application, and defy them to prove that I’ve submitted the wrong pictures.

  • Scott H

    Just to confirm- RA wastes a couple million $ of our money on Tetra and it’s no big deal, but a couple people transfer a $30 pool pass and RA springs into action to combat the injustice. #priorities

  • Fred

    Haha more complaints that all these people do on this website

    • Mike M

      Mr. Bohica would like to see you. I think you’d like Mr. Bohica.

      • Bohica

        Don’t understand your comment!

        • Mike M

          Apparently, he likes to just bend over when here it comes again.

          • Vito Spatafore

            You like to make a lot of assumptions based bigotry.

          • Mike M

            You call a lot of names based on disagreement. Childlike.

          • Vito

            Never called you a name

          • Mike M

            Don Vito. You called me a bigot.

          • Sarah

            You are one

          • Mike M

            Because you say so? Because we don’t agree on issues and you can’t logically articulate your point of view? Because I didn’t vote for Hilary? I’m still waiting for the specifics and the logic.

          • Sarah

            I didn’t vote for Hilary. Nice assumption.

          • Mike M

            Felt that Bern, didn’t ya?

          • Sarah


          • Mike M

            Still waiting for specifics and logic.

  • 30yearsinreston

    As per usual, RA are the Masters of Overkill
    Dont any staff have any common sense?
    This is just a ploy by their IT vendor to inflate the price

  • 30yearsinreston

    Another ‘solution’ looking for a problem
    RA are too stupid to realize they are being scammed by vendors

    • Bohica

      And RA thinks that we are too stupid to realize that they are scamming us.

  • Bob Stinson

    I am so sick of RA. How absurd. I’d love to know how much is being spent on this, vs. how much lost revenue due to sharing or selling of passes. Do they ever do cost/benefit analysis? I doubt it. I bet one or more board members have friends/relatives working at the company deploying the system.

    • Mike M

      I strongly suspect they don’t have staff who knows much of anything about cost-benefit analysis.

  • Bob Stinson


  • LC

    I always carried my license with me when I went to the pool because I thought you would have to show an ID with the pass since there was no photo on it. Wouldn’t that be a free solution to this “problem”?

  • Greg

    Just one more way that RA steals our money on useless things.

  • Greg

    Once again, RA spent well north of $200k on IT in 2015: $239,076. $233,808 the previous year. And the company is in Maryland.

    At least the RA could waste the money IN Reston!

    This is just one vendor and does not include any equipment, telecom, software, other labor or vendors or consultants or in house staff and benefits.

    Oh, and legal services were nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS in 2015: $936,378

    Just outrageous.


    Page 35

  • Holly

    RA used to require pictures on pool passes back in the 80s. We used to get our pictures taken over where the indoor ice skating rink is now. Other than having to make an appointment to have your picture taken and wait for the pass to be created, it wasn’t that big of a deal. My one hang up is the expense.

  • The Constitutionalist

    In before they tell us our photos will be sold as stock images for advertising purposes.

  • Jennifer Litton Tidd

    Great idea RA! I’m sure your systems are SO secure, they’re entirely unhackable. who’s the genius who decided to waste this kind of money to stop a couple scammers and are they going to save pics from year to year to make sure someone selling their pass isn’t using a different pic? And yes, I have 4 children whose photos I don’t want attached to our address and all the personal info RA has. I intend to find out who’s brilliant brainchild this was on the RA and not only vote this person out, but work actively to get the person ousted. It’s now August and the pools are almost closed and it’s only been implemented at Glade and it’s an annoyance. How about this? Make the re-paying of the passes online and update the codes on a pass once it’s paid. No need for these dumb scanners at every pool. Why not spend that money on fixing the fountains at pools like Dogwood and Hunters Woods, or hell, give the lifeguards a damned raise. I’m really irritated by this whole exercise.


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