Flu shots, bank robberies, and area traffic were all hot topics at Thursdays's Annandale Chamber of Commerce luncheon, the first of the 2011-2012 year at the Juke Box Diner.
Fairfax Police Captain Gun Lee, station commander for Mason District Police Station, started his talk with an apology and a great story. Lee apologized that he didn't have his reading glasses because of a sudden change in his morning plans.
Bank Robbery Suspect Caught
Thursday morning, a man tried to rob the BB&T bank in the Willston Shopping Center on Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church.
That branch was robbed twice in July, reportedly by the same individual. The individual then allegedly robbed two banks in the Springfield area. Lee's officers have been doing surveillance and stakeouts since July, and the work paid off Thursday.
Lee described Thursday's events: "Today was not a good day for bad guys. My officers were surveilling the bank, and guess who came in to rob this bank? After he got a couple hundred dollars, he stepped out and to his surprise he saw a couple of my officers running after him. He ran for a few feet and was apprehended." Lee was very proud of his troops and gave them all the credit for catching this suspect.
New Police Programs in Effect
A 19-year veteran of the Fairfax County police force, Captain Lee briefly described his first few years as an officer. In February of this year, Lee became Captain of the Mason District Police Station, the second busiest station in Fairfax County, he said. His three main goals since taking command are:
- strict DWI enforcement
- reducing domestic violence
- improving pedestrian safety
Gross worked with Lee to create the Mason Inspection Unit, which includes police officers, the fire marshal, members of the zoning department and Alcohol Beverage Control. The goal of this unit is to reduce the number of calls to businesses with a record of repeat offenses.
The first step is for law enforcement to discuss the problems with the business. If the business doesn't make changes that reduce or eliminate the problems, the Mason Inspection Unit will step in and inspect buildings, licenses and documentation. Since November, more than 90 businesses have been inspected, 265 citations issued and more than $8,000 in cash has been seized from illegal massage parlors.
Lee described a couple of other programs that have seen results. Officers on bicycles, known as the Neighborhood Patrol Unit, provide great community public relations, don't burn gasoline and are very approachable to young people, he said. The new Traffic Enforcement Officer, Chryssie Broadbent, started in April and handles traffic congestion and traffic safety matters. Captain Lee suggested everyone keep an eye out for a black Ford Mustang that Officer Broadbent has used for traffic enforcement.
Soo Yee, community health specialist with the Fairfax County Health Department, explained the "I Can't Do It...ALONE" program. Fairfax County is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot. Fewer people would get the flu if everyone gets their flu shot, he noted.
Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross reminded everyone that the Mason District Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 24 in Mason District Park. Gross encouraged Chamber members to reserve one of the vendor spaces and asked everyone to make time to visit the festival.
Captain Lee concluded his talk by thanking the Chamber members for their help and cooperation, and reminded everyone that they can be an extra set of eyes and ears for the police department.