Deputies of the Newport News Sheriff’s Office participated in the city’s first Environmental Crimes Investigations School.
For four days, participants from various city departments and state law enforcement agencies spent time in the classroom learning about safety hazards they might encounter in the course of doing their job. They discussed topics like illegal dumping, misuse or disposal of hazardous materials and hazardous waste. Environmental threats can be caused by accidents, negligence or malicious acts.
During the session, taught by the Newport News Fire Marshal’s Office, attendees learned about identifying hazards, site investigations, risk assessment, preserving evidence, and determining whether a crime has been committed.
Cpl. S. Bailey and Cpl. G. Robertson of the NNSO’s Civil Division participated in the training. They are in the community every day, so this training provided best practices for recognizing potential problems and assessing what actions would be needed.
“I never know what I might come across while we’re serving papers, going into vacant homes or just see on the side of the road,” said Cpl. Bailey. “Armed with this information, I can get the process started by identifying potential dangers. Maybe I’m able to handle it on my own, but I may need to notify others. Who are those people and how do we reach them to get an investigation going was also part of this training. It’s important to create partnerships. ”
The session wrapped up with a hands-on exercise that involved illegal dumping and chemicals that could threaten a community’s drinking water.
The 32-hour program was sponsored by the Virginia Fire Marshal Academy in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.