Board of Supervisors - Hunter Mill District

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Walter L. Alcorn
Hunter Mill District Supervisor

April 16, 2024 Board Matter: Proposed Transfer of School Crossing Responsibilities

With Chairman Jeff McKay and Franconia District Supervisors Rodney Lusk

Currently, there are 170 school crossing locations across the county resulting in a total of 340 daily crossings (morning and afternoon). The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) has 72 crossing guard positions, of which 53 are currently filled. Each crossing is 30 minutes in duration, which allows several school crossing guards the ability to cover two or three crossings per day. When crossing guards are not available, police officers are pulled away from patrol responsibilities to handle the crossing. Due to the number of crossings that are required to be covered each day, dozens of police officers are called upon daily to cover school crossings. During the time deployed at school crossings, FCPD police officers are not available to respond to calls for service or emergencies.

Each year, FCPD conducts an annual review of all school crossing locations to ensure all crossing locations continue to meet the criteria for a crossing guard. On occasion, some school crossings are eliminated, and others are added, all in coordination with the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

During the 2023 review, FCPD eliminated a few crossings based on their existing criteria and identified several crossings that FCPD has historically covered outside of the area FCPD normally patrols. These crossings were located on Fort Belvoir (1), and in the Towns of Herndon (1) and Vienna (9).  Fort Belvoir and the Town of Herndon agreed to handle the crossings in their jurisdictions in the Fall of 2023. FCPD has subsequently met with the Vienna Police Department to discuss these crossings and collaborate on coverage solutions that include transitioning coverage responsibility to the Vienna PD as the other jurisdictions embraced. The Vienna mayor and several town council members have expressed concern with this proposed change, as have numerous parents and other residents in Vienna. No changes to coverage have been made nor will any be made until at a minimum, FCPD can update and discuss with the Board of Supervisors the school crossing guard program, the proposed changes, national best practices for handling school crossings, and recommendations to consider.  

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and FCPD prioritize our school students and their safety. There is nothing more important than the safety of our school children. Fairfax County is reviewing how we have historically ensured their safety as they travel to and from school each day, and how the school crossing program can be most effective and sustainable going forward.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I move that FCPD not move forward with proposed changes at this time in the crossing guard program in Vienna, and that FCPD update the Board on the crossing guard program and the current proposed changes, and provide options/alternatives, including the recruitment and retention of crossing guards, for discussion at a future 2024 Safety and Security Committee Meeting.

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