A summary of an officer’s typical daily activity is discussed here.
Officers are required to report for duty as per the schedule and must be in their assigned cruisers and ready for an assignment on the hour they begin their day. An officer works a 10-hour shift. Accreditation requirements have the officer routinely check his assigned cruiser before beginning duty, such as lights, siren, etc. to be sure they are in working order. Some officers begin their shift in the valley and pick up their cruiser at the Tuckahoe School patrolling the valley community as they deem appropriate before heading up to the mountain community. Officers are required to stop by the gatehouse/communications center once on duty to receive daily updates on the previous shift’s activities. Officers read the previous days reports, review the radio log for general information, read the message board for schedule changes and announcements, read the patrol officer daily communications book, review their house-check lists for activations and deactivations, pick up their shift’s radar set and review the officers daily information exchange board.
In 2014 a 3400 square foot addition was built for the police officers, and housing all law enforcement services. Officers use this building for typing their reports into the networked computer reporting system, to receive on-line academy training, in-house video training and read in-house document training, i.e. court case summaries, Virginia Code, etc. The building also serves as their lunch room, restroom, break room, in- house mail room, and the place for discussions with other officers and supervisors. The building also has a large conference room for in house training and hosting other agencies.
Routine patrol encompasses patrolling both the valley and mountain community. The amount of time spent in either location is based on calls for service received during the day and to some degree related to the number of incidents/crimes reported in both locations over the previous years. Taking into account all reported incidents/crimes, generally 15 percent occur in the valley community and, therefore, based on statistics, the valley receives pro-active patrol time somewhat different than the mountain community. With approximately 54 miles of roadways it is virtually impossible for every road and cul-de-sac to be patrolled on a daily basis. The Department divides the community into different patrol areas and beats. Each officer is assigned house-checks both in the valley and on the mountain. Along with assigned house checks, public areas in the valley and on the mountain belonging to both W.P.O.A. , H.C.A. and W.P.I. are routinely checked by each officer.
Officers are free to patrol the community as they deem appropriate taking into consideration the assigned administration average requirements for daily routine patrol. Public area foot patrols are also required during their shifts.
Patrol officers have the authority to arrest, warn or summons an individual for violations of the law. Officers must take into consideration the seriousness of the violation and the effects of alternative solutions rather than arresting an individual. A simple arrest for drunk-in-public requires approximately 3 to 4 hours of an officer’s time due to the fact of transporting the individual to the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, appearing before the magistrate by video conference, completing the required paperwork and then transporting to the Joint Security Complex in Charlottesville and return back to Wintergreen. Should such an event occur during the night time when only one officer is on duty, it requires another officer to be called out to provide coverage.
Officers also patrol the Blue Ridge Parkway for its length adjacent to Wintergreen as a proactive preventive patrol noting abandoned vehicles and their license numbers. The officers also assist the park rangers when requested to assist in traffic control, etc. till a ranger arrives on the scene.
Officers are appointed as special deputies in Nelson County and do have the authority to assist Nelson County deputies with calls of service when requested. It is not the intent to answer calls for Nelson County but to provide mutual aid assistance between both agencies. Both Nelson County and the Virginia State Police provide mutual aid to Wintergreen when requested.