Issue 18
Friday, June 19, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

We are living in a time of change, and as is often said, change isn't easy. Yes, many of the changes we are seeing start to take place in our county and beyond have come as a result of tremendous effort over years, decades and even centuries.

As I look at the lives of our residents greatly impacted by these changes, I want to thank everyone who chose not to take the easy road of complacency. We still have so much more work to do; draw strength from the progress we are achieving.

In this issue you'll find a new video from me, information on recent powerful community dialogues videos, a change in law enforcement, positive equality news, COVID-19 updates , and a county department accomplishment.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
A Message From Your Chair
Community Dialogue
Dialogue On Race and Equality
Sunday's event is now available for viewing. Listen as members of the Potomac Valley Church engage in a dialogue on race and equality with Senator Jeremy McPike, Delegate Luke Torian, Chair Ann Wheeler and Supervisor Victor Angry. Will and Tosha Archer were moderators of the conversation.
Virtual Open Community Discussion
If you missed the live-streamed forum, the video is now available on-demand. The two-hour in depth discussion with Acting Police Chief Jarad Phelps, NVCC-Woodbridge Campus Provost Dr. Sam Hill, and Chairman of the Human Rights Commission Mr. Curtis Porter focused on strengthening community-police relations.
A Law Enforcement Change
A New Era
Effective midnight June 30, the 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will end. The change is a result of this week's Jail Board meeting. Following an ICE presentation and much discussion, no members motioned to extend the program. The 13-year agreement, which deputizes local jail officials to check the immigration status of people arrested for a variety of crimes and turn those suspected of being in the country illegally over to ICE, has been a hotly debated topic in Prince William since its establishment. Starting July 1, 2020, of the 95 counties in Virginia, only Culpeper will have a 287(g) agreement with ICE in place.
“Building trust with our community and law enforcement is a foundational principle. It is extremely important...Today we need to build trust with everyone in Prince William County."
Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard
The Prince William - Manassas Regional Jail Board:
  • Was formed in 1978
  • Is the operating authority for the Regional Adult Detention Center
  • Is comprised of the Sheriff by state mandate, 8 Prince William BOCS appointees and 2 Manassas City Council appointees
A Long-Awaited Recognition
Virginia has a history of acknowledging Juneteenth ( Issue 17) by proclamation. On Tuesday, June 16, Governor Ralph Northam announced he intends to make it a paid state holiday "because it says to Black communities, this is not just your history—this is everyone’s shared history, and we will celebrate it together."  The oldest known commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth is not yet a federally recognized holiday.
“From this moment on, when you look at the vastness of the night sky, and you see those stars moving up there, know that those stars are our African ancestors dancing. They are dancing in celebration because their lives are acknowledged.”
Pharrell Williams, multi-Grammy winner, Virginia native,
and participant in the announcement
Local Decision
In alignment with Governor Northam's announcement, Friday, June 19, has been declared a local holiday for Prince William County Government. As shared in the press release, this formal acknowledgment of the observance of Juneteenth "is to ensure the history of all our community members is included as Prince William County history."
While most Prince William offices and departments, including libraries, will close in observance of Juneteenth, the following will remain open:

  • Police, Fire and Rescue, Emergency Management, and 911
  • Courts, Juvenile and Adult Detention Centers
  • Elections Office Curbside Voting
  • County Landfill and Balls Ford Road Compost Facility
  • Outdoor Parks
Be It Resolved
On Tuesday, June 16, the BOCS voted in support of detailed proclamations and resolutions that:
  • Black Lives Matter
  • June 19 is declared Juneteenth
  • May 2020 on as Mental Health Awareness Month
  • June 2020 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month
  • PWC Government will develop an Equity and Inclusion Framework and Policy
PWC Police Department has dedicated a web page to Accountability and Use of Force. They state in the opening, "We know the conversation of  unity, equity, and equality needs to continue, and we are ready to work together." In addition to answering many frequently asked questions, the site has numerous resource hyperlinks.
COVID-19 Updates
New Hours
The Prince William Health District (PWHD) has changed its COVID-19 Call Center Hours. While the (703) 872-7759 phone line will continue to be staffed from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, it is now closed on weekends . PWHD regular offices can be reached 24/7 at 703-792-7300 or 703-792-6300 for reporting public health emergencies or environmental or occupational hazards (after-hours callers will hear a recorded message with further instructions).
Services Returning
Expanded service for OmniRide Express Routes will resume on Monday, June 22 . Note, passengers on Express buses must pay fares with a SmarTrip card because cash is not being accepted at this time. While OmniRide’s Metro Express and local buses have continued to operate at regular service levels throughout the pandemic, fares are suspended as a safety precaution.
Some Key Details Related To The Expanded Service:
  • Operations will be at Friday levels (one step down from full-service)
  • Face coverings are required
  • Buses undergo stringent cleaning and sanitizing twice daily
  • Weekly enhanced cleanings are performed with hospital-grade cleaning products
  • A few special route updates are listed at the end of the article
PWC News
National Award
Congratulations to PWC Department of Transportation (featured in Issue 12 ) on receiving a 2020 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its "Innovating Mobility Solutions" program, which focuses on creative approaches to transportation projects. As Paolo Belita, the department's regional planning and programming manager, explained "our department's overall program focuses on innovation throughout various levels from how we design, construct, procure, cross-train staff, and deliver projects."
"I am proud and amazed at the great work all my staff and supporting agencies have contributed to earn this 2020 NACo Achievement Award for Prince William County. I am also eager to continue these efforts and bring a better quality of life to our residents and more economic development opportunities to the county."
Rick Canizales, Director, Department of Transportation
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.