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Questions about littering, law enforcement and state legislation were all raised by James City County residents who came out to a community public safety meeting Thursday night.
The meeting, which took place at the Williamsburg Community Chapel, was attended by 17 residents and several public safety personnel, including police officers and firefighters.
Residents posed questions to a panel of public officials: Nate Green, the commonwealth’s attorney for James City County and the City of Williamsburg; Interim Fire Chief Ryan Ashe; Police Chief Brad Rinehimer and County Administrator Bryan Hill.
Some residents asked if “Littering is Illegal” signs could be posted in the county, whether tethering dogs could be prohibited with an ordinance and if private police departments, such as the one serving Kingsmill, benefit from sovereign immunity or the shielding of officers from civil suits.
Rinehimer said this was the first time leaders from different areas of public safety in James City County gathered for one community meeting.
“It’s great to see support from the community,” Rinehimer said. “I think the turnout shows there weren’t a lot of people who have questions or concerns about James City County.”
Hill said bringing the departments together in this setting helps the county accomplish its goals.
“We’re all trying to be one team and as we go forward, this will be one great place to be,” Hill said.
Many residents expressed their appreciation for the work of police and fire personnel. Resident Peg Boarman recalled in the 1970s when there was only a sheriff and sheriff’s deputies looking out for citizens in James City County.
“I think we have a wonderful fire department and now we have a police department,” Boarman said. “I feel so much safer throughout the county.”
There are two more public safety community meetings scheduled for the winter. The next meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Crosswalk Church, located at 7575 Richmond Road in Norge. The third meeting will be at the same time Feb. 2, 2016 at Grove Outreach Center, located at 8800 Pocahontas Trail.