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Ask an Officer: Playing in the Street, Strip Searches, Sworn Officers

Your questions answered by Prince William County Public Information Officer Jonathan Perok.

If you have questions for the Prince William County police department, we'll pass them along to Officer Jonathan Perok and First Sgt. Kim Chinn, public information officers with the department.

Questions can be asked anonymously. Submit your questions to us via e-mail at laurenj at patch.com, by posting a comment on this article, or by sending us a Tweet or a message on our Facebook page

Question:

Can children play in the street? I see kids playing ball, riding skateboards and bikes all the time. I thought skateboarders and bike riders had to follow the same rules of traffic? Skateboarders, laying down on their boards, are the most dangerous. 

Answer:

To answer the first part of your question – according to county code section 13-408a, “It shall be unlawful for any person to play in or on a highway, other than upon the sidewalks thereof.”

To answer the second part of your question – according to county code section 13-375 a bike must follow the same rules as a vehicle. I do not believe skateboarders fall under that same category but can be classified as a toy and would fall under the aforementioned code section above, 13-408b, “No person shall use any toy vehicle on the roadway of any highway that (i) has a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, (ii) has more than two travel lanes, or (iii) is located outside a residence district as defined in Code of Virginia, § 46.2-100.”

Question:

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision what is the policy of the Prince William Police as to when they perform a strip search on a detainee?   

Answer:

It is generally prohibited for officers to conduct strip searches. However they are allowed under certain circumstances in accordance with the law and our general orders.   

Question:

How many sworn officers are assigned to the Patrol Division? Do these numbers meet the recommended staffing levels set by the Virginia Association of Police Chiefs, or the Fraternal Order of Police? How are staffing numbers (in terms of population comparison) compared to Fairfax County, Stafford County, or other surrounding jurisdictions?

Answer:

Our total department sworn staffing for FY 2012 is 569. Attached are the Chief’s staffing comments and budget presentation to the Board of County Supervisors this year. 

Debra Cook April 21, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Please remember, it is the job of our police force to enforce all laws set in place by the government, whether on the local or federal level. It means nothing if the criminals have no fear of the consequences of their actions...............
Connie Moser April 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM
@ Carol, I grew up in a time when kids played in the street, too, but those times have passed. Our neighborhood streets are crowded with parked cars, people do not drive the speed limit, and while I agree we should all watch for children, I cannot make that happen. 539 sworn officers cannot police 460,000 people 24 hours a day. I may long for an earlier, safer, more peaceful time, but that's not going to happen. It is not safe for children to play in the street-regardless of the speed limit...and I really don't think we need a law or law enforcement to help us be responsible parents and neighbors.
Leora LaGraffe April 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Just wanted to say, God Bless all of you and thank you all for doing this hard work to keep us safe! Leora
Linda Popovich April 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Please tell what I did incorrectly. I posted two traffic related questions on April 20th. I cannot see where there is a reply.
Lauren Jost May 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Linda, The answers to your questions are here: http://woodbridge-va.patch.com/articles/ask-an-officer-kids-playing-in-the-street-crash-info

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