Despite Mixed Feedback, Board of Supervisors Back Police Body-Camera Program

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors largely expressed support for equipping police officers in the county with body-worn cameras, despite mixed results from a recent pilot program.

At a July 9 public safety meeting, most supervisors said body-worn cameras would improve police accountability and community-police relations — particularly among minorities. The meeting was held to review results of the county’s pilot program last year.

If approved by the county’s board, the program would disseminate 1,210 body-worn cameras throughout the county over five years. Police at the Reston District Station would be the first to receive the devices.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova said that failing to implement the program would put the county at a disadvantage, especially when residents can record encounters with police. Without body-worn cameras, Bulova said the police department lacks a critical record of interactions that could be questioned or doctored.

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay, who also supports the program, said that while public confidence in the police department may be high currently, public sentiment could change within the next five years.

However, a 119-page report from American University researchers, found that while residents and police officers generally supported the program, its perceived benefits were largely minimal.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity said he was unconvinced the program was worth the cost. Early estimates indicate the program could cost $30 million over five years, including funding for storage capacity and legal staff required to review and log footage.

“To me, it’s a question of priorities,” Herrity said. He would rather see the county reinvest money into retention, training and community policing efforts.

Others, however, said the American University report does not fully capture the views of minorities, especially Hispanics and African Americans who may have different encounters and different concerns with law enforcement.

Addressing the concerns of people of color is especially critical, said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that some of the data points in the report were too general and did not capture specific demographic segments.

“It is misleading to speak in generalities,” Foust said.

Photo via Fairfax County Police Department

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Herndon-Reston FISH to Celebrate 50 Years of Service Next Week

It’s been 50 years since Herndon-Reston FISH began helping Herndon and Reston residents in short-term financial crisis.

The organization, which has an acronym stands for friendly, instant sympathetic help, will celebrate its past successes and preview plans for the future at a public meeting on Monday, July 15.

The meeting takes from at Dominion Energy Offices, which are located at 3072 Centreville Road), from noon to 2 p.m.

Attendees will get the change to meet the organization’s new executive director, Mary Saunders. Local high school students will offer entertainment and light refreshments will also be provided.

HRFISH was founded in 1969 to provide emergency financial assistance to residents, including rent, critical dental care and medical prescriptions.

Short-term assistance “averts evictions that could lead to homelessness, prevents health problems from escalating, keeps the electricity on and the water running, and helps to ensure our neighbors’ well-being and stability are preserved,” according to the organization.

Photo via Herndon-Reston FISH/Facebook

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Downtown Herndon Redevelopment Construction Likely to Begin in Late 2019

The Town of Herndon plans to close on selling nearly 4.7 acres of its land to Comstock in order to begin the redevelopment of downtown Herndon later this year.

Comstock, the developer of Reston Station, was selected by the town three years ago to redevelop the property into a mixed-use project.

The $85 million redevelopment project includes 273 apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail, a new arts center, public space and a new parking garage for public and private use.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in late 2019.

The town and Comstock have several hurdles to clear before groundbreaking. An application for building permits is pending and an additional agreement to “protect town financial interests” must be determined, according to the town’s website.

The project was approved by the Heritage Preservation Review Board in mid-May.

The town will provide $3.6 million for the project, which is described as a public-private partnership.

Photo via handout/Town of Herndon

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Pet of the Week: Amazing Mika

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Mika, a female Retriever and Border Terrier mix available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about her:

Mika is a striking and delightful pup who has one blue eye.

This great pup is a nice blend of friendly affection and normal puppy playfulness and will be great company. Mika is up to date on all shots and dewormings.

Precious pups like these go fast! This friendly little baby girl is going to bring lots of joy to some lucky adopters.

Are you and Mika a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Registration Now Open for Flavors of Fall at Reston Town Center

It’s not to early to get into fall mode. Registration is now open for the annual Flavors of Fall, a free annual festival that includes live entertainment, dancing, and family activities.

This year’s festival, which is organized by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, is set for Sunday, October 13.

The Reston Pumpkin 5K begins at 8:15 a.m. at Reston Town Center and the kids’ pumpkin dash starts at 9:15 a.m. Registration is $25 for adults and $20 for children age 14 and under. Prices rise after September 9.

Restaurants will also serve samples from their favorite fall menus. Two dozen tickets cost $20. Each sample typically requires between three and five tickets. Beer and wine requires six to seven tickets.

At the end of the race, awards will be given.

Registration is open online.

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Boston Market in North Point Village Center is Closed

Boston Market in North Point Village Center has officially closed.

A company spokesperson told Reston Now that the restaurant, which is known for its takeout rotisserie chicken, had its last day of business on Sunday, July 7.

The closure comes as nearly 10 percent of Boston Market locations across the country shutter, including the Sterling location in Cascades Marketplace.

“We must take steps to ensure our operational structure will support long-term sustainability,” wrote CEO Frances Allen in a letter. “Part of that effort involves continuously analyzing our geographic footprint and real estate portfolio to assess the ongoing viability of locations.”

The next closest Boston Market is in Fairfax at 13059 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway.

Photo by Laura Crielly

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Burglar Breaks into Business with Cinder Block — Local police believe Wilson Escobar, 27, of Herndon broke into a business on the 1100 block of Elden Street on Sunday, July 7 at around 4 a.m. Police said the suspect broke into the business using a cinderblock, took cash and cigarettes from the business, and fled from the scene. [Herndon Police Department]

Big Money for PROOF.VC — The strategic capital firm, which is based in Reston, has raised more than $50 million in its second fund. Its second fund topped the first. [Washington Business Journal]

Two Northern Virginia Credit Unions Merge — Northwest Federal, which is based in Herndon, merged with Constellation Federal, which has operations in Reston and Herndon. The new company will be called Northwest Federal. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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