Henrico Fire, Police earn VACo awards

Henrico County’s Fire and Police divisions have been recognized by the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for initiatives that have improved diversity among entry-level firefighters, mobilized volunteers to assist a local emergency response and reduced student arrests at Henrico County Public Schools.

The Division of Fire earned two 2016 Achievement Awards from VACo in recognition of model local government programs. The Police Division received one award.

Overall, VACo honored 29 programs among 91 entries submitted by member counties across the state. Henrico, Arlington, Stafford and York counties each collected three awards, more than any other county. VACo will salute the winners of its 14th awards competition during its annual conference in November.

The Division of Fire earned an Achievement Award for an effort to help the agency attract and retain high-quality entry-level firefighters who better reflect the community’s racial, ethnic and gender diversity.

Working with the Department of Human Resources and the County Attorney’s Office, Fire reviewed and updated its hiring processes, focusing on applicant recruitment, screening, evaluation and support. The changes helped produce a 28-person recruit class that was described by training staff as exceptional and the most diverse in the department’s history.

The Division of Fire also won an award for the Henrico County Virtual Operations Support Team. VOST, established in August 2015, represents a no-cost way to enhance public-safety response by using trained volunteers to relay information, such as neighborhood concerns posted on social media, during an emergency or event. After a severe storm, for example, VOST would augment the county’s Emergency Operations Center staff by helping to identify areas needing assistance, providing photographs of damage or alerting authorities to issues that have not been addressed. VOST’s 28 volunteers served during the NASCAR races last fall, the UCI bicycle event in 2015 and the snowstorms in January.

The Division of Police earned an Achievement Award for a new policy that gives school resource officers greater discretion to avoid arresting a student for an offense at Henrico County Public Schools.

The policy directs an officer to prepare a juvenile violation report for consideration by court officials when it is reasonable, in the interests of the juvenile and his or her family, and when the safety of the community or another person is not at risk. The policy has resulted in a dramatic reduction in custodial arrests of students, from 199 in the first semester of 2014 to four in the first semester of 2015. Under the previous policy, students often were arrested for lesser offenses that could have been handled by school administrators.
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Business in brief

Henrico-based nonprofit Commonwealth Autism recently received the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing its accreditation program. Commonwealth Autism voluntarily opened itself to analysis by a peer review team during the last 18 months that examined the organization’s compliance with the “Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.” These standards cover areas such as: mission, strategy and evaluation; leadership – board, staff and volunteers; legal compliance and ethics; finance and operations; resource development; and public awareness, engagement and advocacy. Commonwealth Autism was one of six organizations in the Richmond region to be recognized and the first in the region to achieve full accreditation. In addition to this accreditation, Commonwealth Autism is recognized as an Accredited Charity with the Richmond Better Business Bureau and holds accreditation from the Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO). > Read more.

Purify Infrared Sauna opens at GreenGate

Purify Infrared Sauna recently opened its second Henrico location at GreenGate Shopping Center in Short Pump.

Owner Mary Woodbridge opened her first Purify location on Patterson Avenue in July 2015. The new store is located at 301 Maltby Boulevard, Suite C, west of Short Pump Town Center. > Read more.

Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27

The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair

Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Police to participate in ‘Tip a Cop’ Oct. 21

Henrico County Police Division and the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are participating in “Tip-A-Cop” to Support the Special Olympics Saturday, Oct. 21.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day at Red Robin, 11784 West Broad Street, members of the two agencies will be working for tips as a donation to the Special Olympics. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

October 2017

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Brookland District Supervisor Harvey L. Hinson will host a town hall meeting to discuss resources and programs available to seniors living in Henrico County. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Board Room at the Henrico Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. Hinson will be joined by Jelisa S. Turner, Henrico’s advocate for the aging, and other staff members. For details, call (804) 501-4208. Full text

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