At a recent meeting of the Crozet Community Association, two Albemarle County Police officers were in attendance to answer questions from community about policing in Crozet. I asked the officers what was the average time to answer a call for service in Crozet? I must admit I was surprised when the answer was it takes an average of 15 minutes. Recently in the Daily Progress there was an article regarding Albemarle County Schools putting a police resource officer back in Albemarle High School due to recent problems. While the schools in Crozet thankfully don’t have the same problems as Albemarle High School, the issue of school violence, both from within and just as importantly from outside our schools, must be considered. The fact you don’t have a problem today, doesn’t insure you won’t have a problem tomorrow and as we all know tragedy in a school can occur within a heart beat. While it was an improvement in the amount of time police officers spend in Crozet with the addition of the sub-station in Old Trail, it is still not adequate. While I’m not a big fan of putting police officers in our schools, both our schools and community deserve to have a police officer available for rapid response to any threat to public safety and that is not the case today. A good first step would be to make sure there is a police officer available within the confines of the Crozet growth area during school hours.
The issue of safety doesn’t end with adequate police protection. As many of you know, Crozet now has coverage by three paid Albemarle County firefighters during the hours of 6am through 6pm Monday through Friday, when volunteers from the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department take over. There is, in my opinion, a problem with how the system operates. On the positive side, one of the firefighters from the county has advanced medical training and several of Crozet’s fire apparatus have been upgraded with the required medical equipment that might be needed in an emergency. Crozet is also fortunate to have the Western Albemarle Rescue Squad (WARS), which responds to all medical emergencies in Crozet. That said, there are times when WARS will ask for assistance from the county firefighter/medic with advanced medical training. While this additional emergency coverage is a plus for Crozet, when the medic gets called out, leaving only two firefighters available, it effectively means the fire apparatus from Crozet is now out of service. Crozet is now dependent on fire protection from the nearest fire station (151), adjacent to the North Ridge Medical Center on Rt 250 increasing the response time should there be a fire emergency in Crozet. The National Fire Protection Association recommendation calls for four fighters to fully stall a fire engine, so explain to me why under the current circumstances there is no fourth firefighter? For years Crozet residents have been complaining about the lack of infrastructure and while not having the eastern connector road or sidewalks in frustrating, playing a game of chance with the health and safety of the lives of the residents of Crozet can be down right dangerous.