Local Church to Reinstall Stolen Pride Flag

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston will reinstall a rainbow flag that was taken nearly a month ago.

The new flag, which will be installed tomorrow, replaces one that was removed by vandals in the same location outside the church atop a hill on Wiehle Avenue.

Local police have not provided any details about the suspected vandalism.

Rev. Debra Haffner said the church is committed to replacing every stolen flag “even if it means putting up a new flag each month.”

“We are a welcoming faith community and we want everyone who drives by our church in Reston to know that all people – gay, straight, pansexual, bisexual, transgender – are welcome here. Our faith celebrates that sexual and gender diversity is a blessing, and our flag is a symbol of that commitment,” she said.

The church has the only freestanding rainbow flag in Reston that is up year-round.

The 11-foot flag was removed on June 11, one week after the church co-sponsored the Reston Pride Festival. Roughly 5,000 people came out to celebrate the second annual event at Lake Anne Plaza.

In the last several months, the flag was taken three times. It was installed in 2017 without incident until this spring.

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Crime Roundup: Police Say Reston Teen Assaults Police

A 19-year-old Reston resident was arrested on July 6 at around 8:30 p.m. for assaulting police.

Local police found Mario Rodriguez unconscious near a bus stop. When medical staff tried to help him, Rodriguez assaulted an officer during the arrest.

He was charged with two counts of assault on law enforcement, possession of marijuana and drunk in public.

Rodriguez is being held without bond.

FCPD’s Reston District Station also reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

2100 block of Astoria Circle cash from residence

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cell phone from location

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, package from residence

1800 block of Fountain Drive, backpack from business

2000 block of Durand Drive, laptop computer from vehicle

12900 block of Highland Crossing Drive, tip jar from business

1400 block of Lake Fairfax Drive, cash and property from business

11900 block of Market Street, wallet from location

1400 block of West Ox Road, cell phone from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None

In other news, three golf carts were taken from Hidden Creek Country Club on July 1 just a few minutes after midnight. The carts were found on a nearby street a short while later.

In a separate incident, police also charged Brian Baker, 47, for assault and disorderly conduct on July 2. Police believe Baker threatened staff at Reston Hospital Center.

On July 6, a burglary was reported at Frying Pan Farm Park. Police responded to an alarm and found that the building had been broken into. Nothing was taken.

Photo via FCPD

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No Major Flood Damage Reported at Reston North Park & Ride

Floodwaters at the Reston North Park and Ride have receded, leaving little damage at the site where water pooled up to the windshields’ of cars yesterday (July 8).

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation told Reston Now that there appears to be no damage to the pavement or drains, which were simply overwhelmed with the “massive amount of water.”

“We’re focusing on other areas,” Ellen Kamilakis said. “There are other heavily devastated areas in the county.”

Crews are currently on-site throughout the county to assess damages.

In early September 2011, floodwaters caused major damage at the Reston Park and Ride. Several vehicles were damaged during that storm.

The lot is located at the corner of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue.

Photo via AlphaPupObie/Twitter

 

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Author of ‘The Spies of Shilling Lane’ Coming to Scrawl Books

Bestselling author Jennifer Ryan will visit Scrawl Books this weekend at 11911 Freedom Drive.

Ryan will discuss and sign her latest book, “The Spies of Shilling Lane.” The story revolves around female spies in World War II.

The book has been called a “delightful mystery’ by the New York Times.

This is her second novel following the release of “The Childbury Ladies Choir” in 2017.

The event begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 14.

Photo via Crown Publishing

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Local Pilot Body Camera Program for Police Yields Mixed Results

The results of an analysis on the county’s pilot body-worn camera program are officially in. Researchers at American University found that the six-month pilot project could have limited results in enhancing policy-community relations increasing police legitimacy and accountability.

In a 119-page report that uses survey data from residents and police officers, researchers found that people had “modest expectations” about the necessity and benefit of body-worn cameras.

Less than half of survey respondents and interviewees noted that the devices would reduce complaints against officers, improve legitimacy or increase police accountability. Police officers also noted that it was unlikely that the devices would change their behavior or how community members responded to the police department.

“If the decision is not to deploy them, the high regard for the department will lead nearly everyone to conclude that it was the right decision for all,” the report states.

Researchers did not find any statistically significant changes in officer behavior and performance once the devices were deployed. They also found that respondents were unconvinced that the cameras would lessen the use of force by police.

The pilot program went into effect in March last year after Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler and a police commission suggested the idea. Last year, 191 cameras were deployed at the Mason, Mount Vernon and Reston District Station, yielding more than 12,000 hours of video.

The police department found that judges, clerks of the courts and staff from the office of the public defendant generally supported the program.

If the program is implemented, the county would deploy 1,210 body-worn cameras to all operational police officers over five years. The Reston, Mason and Mt. Vernon district stations would be the first to get the cameras.

The program could cost nearly $30 million over a five-year contract period. The county would have to hire staff to manage the technical aspects of the equipment, improve station infrastructure and ensure public records laws were being followed.

Additionally, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney would need nearly $3.1 million for 23 positions to help review the footage, roughly $773,000 to help the court system use the videos generated by the cameras in the court-rooms, and $150,000 to boost storage capacity to capture video evidence.

The county still has to mull several issues:

  • The impact of the devices on prosecutors, public defenders and the court system is entirely unclear
  • The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office cannot accommodate planned growth
  • Whether or not cameras should be given to School Resources Officers
  • Training requirements for the defense bar
  • The possibility that future contract costs could increase

The report will be presented to the county’s Public Safety Committee today (July 9).

Photo via FCPD

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Groovy Nate at Reston Regional Library — Wolf Trap teaching artist Groovy Nate will visit Reston Regional Library for music and puppet fund. The event takes place from 2:30-3:15 p.m. and is geared towards preschoolers. [Reston Regional Library]

Farmers & Makers Market is Today — Reston Town Center welcomes the market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. It features a mix of produce, meats, handmade goods, and one-of-a-kind items. The market is presented in partnership with URBNmarket. [Reston Town Center]

Greater Reston Arts Center Seeks Volunteers, Interns — The organization welcomes high school and college level students to apply for week-long internships at our Summer Art Camps. Interns will spend their days making art and having a blast with campers at Reston Association’s Lake House. [East City Art]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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