In my January 2013 column, I described the many things that the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney does. My office prosecutes felonies, DUI cases, misdemeanors committed on school property, and misdemeanor domestic violence cases, reviews concealed weapon permits, pursues the seizure of assets from drug dealers, and performs many other duties. In response to that column, I received invitations to speak at various church and civic meetings. It has been my pleasure to speak with these groups from all areas of Chesapeake. I enjoy meeting the citizens of Chesapeake and talking about the criminal justice system. I explain and describe how criminal charges proceed through the different courts and answer questions about different types of crimes.
Unfortunately, no one is immune from becoming a victim of a crime or a witness to a crime. Also, you cannot anticipate when you may be a victim or a witness. Often times I meet people for the first time because they have been drawn into the criminal justice system by someone who has committed a crime. However, I like to meet people before they come to the courthouse for an interview or to testify. Therefore, I think this is an excellent opportunity to tell you about community events where you can come meet and talk with us.
Our fourth “Traveling the Road to Success” series started May 15th and ends on June 5th. It is held at Indian River Community Center from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. The topics for this year’s series include gangs and guns, cyber bullying, drugs, and the importance of education. This series is free, open to the public, and does not require pre-registration.
My office will have a table with informational handouts (and people to answer questions) at Lakeside Park after the 4th of July Parade, Camelot Community Spirit Day (July 11th), Community Helper Day at Major Hillard Library (July 16th), Dunedin Community Day (July 18th), Holly Cove Community Day (July 27th), Indian River Community Center Summer Camp (August 14th), and South Norfolk Community Day (September 14th).
On August 15th, the Annual South Norfolk Basketball Tournament will be held at Johnson Park from 4 PM to 7 PM. This tournament is free but you need to pre-register. Several civic organizations, citizens and City departments work with us on this event. This basketball tournament is a good and free way for people of all ages to meet prosecutors, police officers, Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters. More information on this event will be available in July. Last year, Sheriff’s deputies, police officers, firefighters and prosecutors played on the teams with the youth. Hot dogs, chips, popsicles, home-made sarsaparilla and root beer, and other drinks were served. All of these items were donated by citizens and civic leagues. Of course, it was hot and it was fun.
Also, since 2005, I and my attorneys have attended the neighborhood events held on National Night Out. This night is “America’s Night Out Against Crime”. In the past, National Night Out was held on the first Tuesday of August. Many Chesapeake neighborhoods participated and led various activities. Some had cookouts, some had ice cream parties, some had music, and some had games. At least one prosecutor has been at each event with informational handouts. As you may imagine, the first Tuesday of August has always been hot and muggy. Fortunately, this year there will be some relief. This year, National Night Out has been moved to October 1st! The Chesapeake Police Department maintains the list of participating neighborhoods with the times and locations. These events are an easy way to meet your neighbors and various City officials. I hope that your neighborhood will consider joining the others this year.
As you can see, there are numerous opportunities for you, your children and your grandchildren to come out and meet us between now and October 1st. If you would like for someone to speak at a church or civic league meeting, then please call my office at 382-3200.
I am proud to be the Commonwealth’s Attorney for this great City, and I look forward to continuing to serve you. I hope that you will come out during the next few months and meet me and my attorneys. I wish you all a safe and happy summer!