From the impact of COVID to level-of-staffing issues, it’s been a tough two years for Arlington County’s public-safety agencies, as it has for many of their counterparts across the land.
But at an Oct. 14 luncheon hosted by Arlington County Crime Solvers, the message being delivered was clear: Your work is appreciated.
The Arlington County Police Department and Arlington County Sheriff’s Office have worked hard “keeping the community safe and calm” during “a trying time for all of us,” said community leader Michael Garcia, who emceed the event.
In a typical year, awards are presented to individual officers and sheriff’s deputies for services rendered to the community, but the 2021 honors were bestowed on the agencies as a whole.
Those accolades were appreciated, public-safety leaders said.
“I’m immensely proud of their efforts,” Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn said of the personnel under his command. “Last year, we faced an unprecedented challenge. Our officers continued to provide essential services – officers rose to each challenge.”
“We’ve really had to think outside the box, change our operations,” said Maj. Jimmie Barrett, representing Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur. “We really enjoy [having] your support, each and every day.”
The ceremony was held during Police Officers and Peace Officers Week, and Penn asked those in attendance at Busboys and Poets to hold in their hearts the county police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Andres Tobar, who heads the local Crime Solvers organization, borrowed one of his other hats (as executive director of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center) and remarked that law-enforcement support was vital to allow social-safety-net agencies to function effectively.
“If it wasn’t for the public-safety agencies, we couldn’t do our job,” Tobar said. “It shows what we can do when we all work together.”
Putting back on his Crime Solvers hat, Tobar said the organization was refining its efforts beyond their current scope.
“Our mission is becoming much more clear – we want to build some very strong relationships” with public-safety agencies, he said.
That message found acceptance with the police chief, who urged residents, organizations and local government to “work together to make Arlington a welcoming and safe community for all.”
The event, sponsored by Comcast, also included remarks by Arlington public-health director Dr. Reuben Varghese, who provided a COVID update.
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To provide information about a crime and wish to remain anonymous, call the Crime Solvers Tips Line at (866) 411-8477.