Public Safety

Overdose Epidemic in Virginia

Jan 26, 2015

An enormous surge in heroin and prescription-drug overdose deaths in Virginia has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to call it an epidemic.  It’s also why state lawmakers of both parties have joined together to advance a multi-faceted package of bills to tackle the challenge.  They believe it’s both a law enforcement AND a public health problem.


Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner reports that every region of the state has seen a spike in heroin overdose fatalities. Attorney General Mark Herring says the data confirm that.

West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

One year ago a chemical spill into West Virginia’s Elk River shut down the Charleston area water system for weeks. Scientists are still studying what happened in one of the largest municipal water emergencies in the country… as legal action on the case gets underway.

On the day of the chemical spill, the first clue Charleston area residents had that there was a problem with their water was the smell.  They reported the water smelled something like licorice.

Fervent opposition to a governor's budget cuts is not at all unusual.  But one group in particular says it has been cut to the bone-and now it's a public safety problem. Virginia Public Radio's Tommie McNeil explains why the state chapter of the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers tells the General Assembly’s budget committees that it's time to restore, NOT cut funding. 

While the public enjoys relative comfort knowing violent offenders are tucked away in correctional facilities, the Coalition’s Donald Baylor says Governor McAuliffe’s cuts change that dynamic.

Mall Cams Move Forward in Charlottesville

Jan 6, 2015
Photo: Hawes Spencer

For years, the city of Charlottesville has debated whether to install security cameras in public places. 

Opponents have successfully argued that surveillance in public places is an invasion of privacy, but with the disappearance and death of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, public sentiment may have shifted. 

Since 2007, Charlottesville’s chief of police has been asking City Council to install surveillance cameras on the Downtown Mall. This week, he brought the City's top prosecutor to make the case.

As Virginia heads into winter, officials in Albemarle County are trying to figure out what problems residents will face if snow or ice knocks out power and closes roads.

Back in October, employees of various government agencies went door to door in and around Charlottesville, asking a series of questions.

“How well prepared is your household to handle an emergency?  Not well. “

The idea was to find out if people could take care of themselves after a disaster.  Ryan McKay is an emergency planner.