Albemarle Police implement new law enforcement tactics

The Albemarle County Police department has overhauled its policing model to more effectively target crime trends in the county. The new geo-policing model has divided Albemarle County into two districts: the Blue Ridge district and the Jefferson district.

The move will make it easier to effectively address crimes in different areas of the county, Albemarle County Police spokesperson Carter Johnson said.

“It wasn’t in reaction to anything specific,” Johnson said. “It was what Colonel Steve Sellers, the chief of police of the county, thought would make us more accountable to the county. It would be a more effective and productive way of policing.”

The structural change aims to help improve accountability by linking particular officers to particular geographic areas for which they would be responsible for, Johnson said.

“If you have a problem and you’re in the Jefferson or Blue Ridge district, you know exactly who to go to,” he said. “The officers who patrol those areas will stay active in those areas … the [U]niversity patrols will know who to call directly.”

The decision was informed by crime trends in different parts of the county, Johnson said. “We hope by breaking up the county by geography we can help face these crime trends more effectively,” he said.

The police department has spent the last few months transitioning to the new geo-policing method. The method itself will have no implementation costs above the department’s usual budget.

The county cast a wide net in finding community partners to work with when setting up this new police effort, Johnson said.

“We tried to address as many different partners in the community as possible so that everyone would be aware of what was going on,” Johnson said.

The new model will not impact the University Police, University Police Lt. Melissa Fielding said.
“The county does not come in contact with us before implementing anything,” Fielding said. “The model of policing does not affect our relationship with them nor with how we do things.”

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