Certified Crime Prevention Community Program
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has evaluated its existing community policing efforts and programs over the last year, and is embracing the lofty challenge of joining twelve other exclusive communities in becoming a Certified Crime Prevention Community (CCPC) through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The goal of the CCPC program is to publicly recognize and certify localities that have implemented a defined set of community safety strategies as part of a comprehensive community safety/crime prevention effort to the betterment of their community.
The CCPC Program was created through gubernatorial executive order in 1998 by the New Partnership Commission for Community Safety to promote community safety, particularly focusing on youth and family safety. The CCPC with its twelve core community safety elements is identified as a best-practice amongst law enforcement agencies wishing to set themselves apart from mediocrity, and to institute cutting-edge community policing efforts. The twelve CCPC core safety elements include instituting the following:
- Community Crime Prevention/Safety Council
- DCJS Certified Crime Prevention Specialist
- Neighborhood Watch Program
- Community Policing/Crime Control Planning Process
- Organized Distribution of Community Safety Literature
- Deputy Trained Community Safety/Risk Assessments
- Crime Analyst
- Comprehensive School Safety Audit Process
- Business Outreach Program
- Organized Referral Process for Crime Victims
- Youth Delinquency Prevention Program
- VLEPSC Accreditation
To this end, the WCSO will be incorporating the twelve-core community safety and crime prevention elements under the umbrella of their program plan, which will be coordinated through the Community Policing Unit (CPU), led by Lieutenant Robbie Seal and the CPU Sergeant.
According to DCJS other popular programs may be considered optional under the CCPC guidelines; however, Sheriff Mark Butler states these initiatives will continue because they are meaningful and provide real value to our residents. These include D.A.R.E., Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (S.A.L.T.) / TRIAD, National Night Out, and School Resource Officer are examples of such programs. The Sheriff’s Office recently renewed its memorandum of understanding with the Warren County School Board on April 7, 2021 to extend the presence of SROs in county schools through 2026, and has applied for a State grant through DCJS to add an additional SRO to our schools.
There are several tangible incentives and values for becoming a certified crime prevention community, such as becoming a recognized leader in community safety, sending a clear signal to criminals that criminal behavior will not be tolerated, and the Sheriff’s Office will be given preference in the State Criminal Justice Grant application process.
The certification is a great marketing tool for community and economic development efforts to attract families, tourism, and businesses interested in finding a safe location in which to live, work, and play. Other benefits may include insurance premium reductions from insurance companies for county policyholders. Becoming a CCPC enhances the professionalism of county government and Sheriff’s Office by showing we can meet rigorous standards related to community safety. Once certified, which Sheriff Butler hopes to achieve in twelve months, the county would have to recertify every three years afterwards.
There are three basic eligibility requirements that must be met in order to participate in the program. These include being a community or locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia, adopting a resolution of participation and filing this resolution with DCJS, and designating a local coordinator for the certification effort. These requisites are currently being completed, with resolution to be presented to the Board of Supervisors and a promotional review for the new CPU Sergeant being completed prior to June 1, 2021.
Collaboration with the Sheriff’s Community Advisory Council (CAC) members continues to yield fresh ideas from our citizens. The CAC Chairman, Bruce Townshend states “I really believe that once Warren County achieves the CCPC certification it will make this community safer for everyone, and a more desirable destination for tourists, businesses and people who want to live in the Shenandoah Valley. We already have so much to offer. The CCPC will make us stand out from the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Near future actions include convening a working group to shape the process, completing an assessment/gap analysis of existing Sheriff’s Office programs and community needs, assigning roles and responsibilities to correct any identified shortfalls, ensuring the twelve core community safety elements are completed or in-progress, and finally – submitting the certification packet to DCJS. Any questions or those interested in finding out more about the CCPC Program are asked to contact Lt. Robbie Seal at (540) 635‑4128.