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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Dan Friedell"

Some Virginia first responders experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts

A survey taken by about 4,900 first responders in Virginia this year shows that significantly more people working public safety jobs are experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts than everyone else.

According to the survey, about 8% of those who responded to the survey admitted to having recent suicidal thoughts. That’s about double the number of those in the general population who consider taking their own lives. The survey notes that due to preemployment screening practices, those who embark upon public safety careers are often considered to be healthier than the general population.

According to the report:

“Suicidal thoughts are linked to other serious problems as well. Those who endorsed suicidal thoughts were more likely to be depressed and angry or confrontational. They were also more likely to suffer from reactions to traumatic experiences: the more reactions they reported, the more likely they were to report suicidal thoughts.”

The survey was originally designed to track the mental health of those in the Fairfax County Police Department, but with the help of a local police union, it was ultimately distributed to 25 other public safety agencies across Virginia, including police and firefighters in Arlington and Prince William counties.

The Behavioral Analysis United of the U.S. Marshals Service tabulated the results and came up with a few key take-aways from the survey:

  • Agencies should be open with their employees and the public that the job takes a toll on the mental health of first responders.
  • Agencies should endorse the idea that it’s “okay to not be okay” and destigmatize officers who ask for help.
  • Let officers and public safety employees know there are proven treatments for the problems they and their colleagues are reporting.
  • And be sure to develop prevention and wellness programs first-responders can use to mitigate some of the effects of the job.

The report suggests that police officers, firefighters and those doing other public safety jobs should not be expected to be immune to their high-stress work environments, noting: “the ‘suck it up’ attitude, expecting first responders to be superhuman while day after day seeing the worst that society offers, is contributing to poor mental and physical health.”

The survey was not just focused on suicidal thoughts, even though the report said more public safety officers die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Another significant issue that police and fire departments need to be focused on is the increase in the rate of depression the longer first-responders are on the job. Of those who responded, 23.7% said they suffered from depression because of their work.

The most experienced police officers and firefighters, according to the survey, are more likely to quit their jobs than seek help, due to a thought that their depression symptoms could not be eased through a combination of therapy and work-validated wellness programs.

Westlake Legal Group depression Some Virginia first responders experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts virginia news suicide mental health Local News Latest News First Responders Fairfax County, VA News depression Dan Friedell crime
Of those surveyed, 24.3% of those who selected “Depression” as a work-caused concern reported having recent suicidal thoughts. Only 2.9% of those that did not select “Depression” reported having recent suicidal thoughts. (Courtesy Fairfax County Police)

The goal of the police union’s survey, according to the report, is to encourage police and fire departments across Virginia, and beyond, to do a better job of helping their employees deal with the stress of their jobs.


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Northbound George Washington Parkway closed due to sinkhole

The northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway, between Virginia state Route 123 and the entrance to the Capital Beltway, near exit 43, have been closed since about 6:45 p.m. on Friday due to a sinkhole, according to a National Park Service statement said.

The closure affects about five miles of roadway. The lanes will remain closed as engineers and road crews work to repair the damage. The closure does not affect the parkway’s southbound lanes.

The NPS said in its statement that no accidents have been reported and “closing the George Washington Parkway is never a decision that is made lightly.

A sinkhole developed in the same area, near Dead Run, in March. That sinkhole opened up underneath the road following heavy rain.

The March sinkhole was about 10 feet deep, 12 feet wide and 30 feet long — or roughly the size of a city bus, according to preliminary findings by the NPS.

For more information, drivers can check the National Park Service website.



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Fairfax Co. police arrest 2 men for 2016 shooting of school aide

WASHINGTON — Two D.C. men are in custody Thursday after being linked to the 2016 murder of a Fairfax County elementary school aide.

Tarreece Sampson worked at Fort Hunt Elementary School. He was shot and killed early in the morning of May 23, 2016.

He was 24.

Thomas Fitzpatrick was Sampson’s principal at the time of his death. He said Sampson was popular with the children at the school. “He wanted to be someone who taught the kids, not only instruction, but also life lessons of working hard, and how you treat people,” Sampson said.

A news release posted Thursday by Fairfax County police said Tre’Sur Hawkins, 19, was charged with first-degree murder. Charles Benson, 24, was arrested in D.C. in Sept., also for shooting Sampson, and transferred to Fairfax County in Oct.

Benson has been in custody since Oct. 17, but his status was not publicized so detectives could continue building their case leading to Hawkins’ arrest.

According to the news release, detectives do not believe the men knew each other. They think Sampson encountered Hawkins and Benson when they were breaking into cars along Richmond Highway that morning in 2016.


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Comments wanted on $200 million Fairfax Co. Parkway widening project

WASHINGTON — A stretch of Fairfax County Parkway that runs about 5.5 miles between Fairfax and Fairfax Station may soon be consumed by a construction project projected to cost nearly $200 million.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) is considering a plan to widen the roadway from four to six lanes between Lee Highway (Va. Route 29) and Ox Road (Va. Route 123).

As it stands, the project will be done in two phases, the first starting late this year.
But VDOT wants your feedback on its proposal. The state is holding a meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, at Robinson Secondary School, at 5035 Sideburn Road in Fairfax, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The design proposal includes:

  • Widening Fairfax County Parkway;
  • Building a new interchange at Popes Head Road;
  • Improving the Route 123 interchange and the intersection of the parkway with Burke Centre Parkway;
  • Improving the parkway’s pedestrian/bicycle trail along the length of the project route.

If you can’t make the meeting on Monday, you can still review the project details on VDOT’s website and find out how to send comments to the project manager by email or regular mail.

See the map below for the approximate location of the project.

Westlake Legal Group staticmap?key=AIzaSyAUgwUVDbpkDzjtqaM9s73ohlXdWjsSukg&zoom=13&center=38.8142231,-77.3469785&size=640x300&maptype=roadmap&markers=color:red%7Clabel:%7C38.8142231,-77 Comments wanted on $200 million Fairfax Co. Parkway widening project Virginia vdot Transportation News Latest News Fairfax County, VA News fairfax county parkway Dan Friedell


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Suspects arrested after carjacking near Wheaton Mall

WASHINGTON — Police in Montgomery county arrested a pair of suspects on Monday afternoon after receiving a report of an armed carjacking near Wheaton Mall.

It happened on the 11100 block of Veirs Mill Road. The victim told police the suspects showed her a gun and took her car at about 3:30 pm.

She provided a description of the suspects and her car, and 15 minutes later, police spotted the car in Fairland, Maryland, about eight miles away.

The suspects were stopped without incident, and police found a replica handgun in their possession.

Police are working on the case and the suspects will be identified after charges are filed.

Below is the area where the car was stolen and where it was recovered.


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Hit-and-run victim identified as Reston teen

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County police identified the victim of a hit-and-run crash on Saturday evening in Reston, Virginia, as 16-year-old Marvin Daniel Cruz Serrano.

Cruz’s family gave police permission to release his name.

He was a 10th-grader at South Lakes High School. In a message sent to the school community, Principal Kim Retzer said funeral arrangements are still being planned. School reopens after winter break on Jan. 7, but counselors will be available for those who might need someone to talk with on Wednesday, Jan. 2, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Police are asking for help from anyone who may have seen the crash, which took place at the intersection of South Lakes Drive and Castle Rock Square around 5:40 p.m. Saturday. One witness said the car was most likely a sedan, but the witness did not note the color or the make of the vehicle.

According to a news release, the car would have serious front-end damage, but it could still be driven.

If you think you may have seen the accident, contact the Crash Reconstruction Unit by calling 703-280-0543.

Westlake Legal Group staticmap?key=AIzaSyAUgwUVDbpkDzjtqaM9s73ohlXdWjsSukg&zoom=13&center=38.9343713,-77.3479855&size=640x300&maptype=roadmap&markers=color:red%7Clabel:%7C38.9343713,-77 Hit-and-run victim identified as Reston teen Virginia reston Local News Latest News hit and run Fairfax County, VA News Daniel Cruz Dan Friedell





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‘See something, say something’ seems to work

WASHINGTON — A report from a transportation research organization shows that programs along the lines of “see something, say something” seem to work.

The slogan has been around for over a decade, but the results of regular people reporting suspicious packages or bags on public transportation has been tracked since 1970, according to the California-based Mineta Transportation Institute. Some of the data considered came from the UK when the IRA was carrying out a bombing campaign in Northern Ireland and England in the 1970s and 1980s. Other information came from Israel when public transportation was targeted by terrorist groups in the same period of time.

In the organization’s latest report, released earlier in December, author Brian Michael Jenkins wrote that passengers and staff have prevented more than 10 percent of all terror attacks on surface public transportation.

“Detection rates are even better in economically advanced countries,” he added.

The Department of Homeland Security reminds people to contact local law enforcement if they see something that does not “seem quite right.” Be sure to include “who or what you saw, when you saw it, where it occurred and why it’s suspicious.”

The Mineta Transportation Institute said the tactic is particularly useful in thwarting attacks by suicide bombers. The organization notes, however, that suicide bombers will often detonate their devices when confronted, but that prevents them from making it to their intended target.

The institute used examples from just a few days in September 2016, to illustrate the value of regular people taking note of suspicious items and alerting police.

On Sept. 17, 2016, an unattended bag was reported near the start of a charity five-kilometer run in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The start was delayed and no runners were present when the device detonated.

Later that night, in New York City, a woman reported seeing wires coming from a pressure cooker. Authorities were able to prevent the explosion of the device, which was similar to another device that did explode nearby, wounding more than 30 people.

A day later, some men found a surprisingly heavy backpack in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They alerted police, who prevented the device from causing any harm.

The Institute notes that this particular stretch of success, while anecdotal, illustrates the value of concerned citizens taking action.

The campaign works especially well on trains and within rail stations, with road attacks coming second and bus attacks coming in third. For more details, the full report can be found on Mineta Institute’s website.


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Trump makes federal pay freeze official for 2019

WASHINGTON — Federal employees’ pay will be frozen at 2018 levels for all of next year following a White House executive order issued Friday.

The Office of Personnel Management released pay tables Friday night that show there will be no raises for civilian federal employees in 2019.

The freeze became official as federal employees head into their second week of a partial government shutdown.

Over the summer, President Donald Trump said it was his intention to limit the “long-term fixed costs” of “across-the-board pay increases” as part of a plan to better manage the government’s budget.

The OPM pay tables show that rates will be frozen at 2018 levels starting in January 2019.

It is possible that Congress could still step in to pass a pay raise as part of a bill that will eventually reopen the government, according to Federal News Network.

Congressman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., called the president’s executive order “pouring salt on the wounds of federal employees” in a Twitter post late Friday night. He said Congress should reopen the government and “make federal employees whole.”

The pay freeze will not effect those in the military. They will receive a 2.6 percent pay increase in 2019.

“It is shocking that federal employees are taking yet another financial hit,” Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement Friday night. “As if missed paychecks and working without pay [during the partial shutdown] were not enough, now they have been told that they don’t even deserve a modest pay increase.”

Read more on the civilian federal pay freeze from WTOP’s sister news organization, Federal News Network.


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Montgomery Co. police investigating death outside Rockville church

WASHINGTON — Montgomery County police say a woman was found dead on Friday night outside Saint Raphael Catholic Church in Rockville.

The county received a call to its Emergency Communications Center around 6 p.m. reporting an assault in front of the church.

The woman was found with upper body trauma and died at the scene.

Detectives are considering the incident a homicide and are working to confirm the identity of the victim. There is no suspect in custody at the moment, according to recent posts on the county’s Twitter account.

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

This story will be updated as more details become available.

See the map below for the location of the church.

Westlake Legal Group staticmap?key=AIzaSyAUgwUVDbpkDzjtqaM9s73ohlXdWjsSukg&zoom=13&center=39.0681784,-77.1811462&size=640x300&maptype=roadmap&markers=color:red%7Clabel:%7C39.0681784,-77 Montgomery Co. police investigating death outside Rockville church saint raphael church rockville Montgomery County, MD News Maryland News Local News Latest News homicide death Dan Friedell


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