Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpIf September marks new beginnings for students and families at all educational levels, it also marks new beginnings for some of our public safety personnel. Last week, the Fairfax County Police Department announced that Captain Christian Quinn, currently the commander of the Mason Police Station, has been promoted to Major, and assumed command of Patrol Bureau, Division III, this week. Captain Thomas J. Rogers, currently serving as the countywide Duty Officer, will take over as Mason Commander this week. Lt. Chantel Cochrane will continue in her leadership as Assistant Commander of the Mason Station.

Many police officers consider working at the Mason Station to be a plum assignment. Whether a rookie or a seasoned veteran, a Mason officer gets to put into practice every day the skills learned at the academy, or from years as a street cop. Most of the department’s current leadership team, from Chief Roessler on down, served as commander or assistant commander of the Mason Station before moving up the leadership ladder. The incredible support from Mason District residents also is a plus, as community policing is no longer a unique approach, but a basic tenet of the department. The Mason Station’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) meets on the first Tuesday of each month, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. CAC meetings are open to the public, and the next meeting is Tuesday, October 4, which will provide time to meet Captain Rogers and learn more about police incidents and response in the Mason station’s response area.

Forty-seven eager new recruits graduated from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy last Friday night, and some were assigned to shifts beginning the very next morning at 7 a.m.! Eight women were among the very diverse group of new firefighters and emergency medical technicians. At least six recruits were assigned to fire stations in Mason District, although it was hard to keep track amidst the celebratory applause and shouts of encouragement from family members as each recruit received their probationary helmet from Fire Chief Richie Bowers.

This was Fairfax County’s 140th Recruit School, a very extensive, demanding, and fast-paced program that lasts 30 weeks. In addition to academic requirements (the average GPA of the class was 86 percent, and the valedictorian had a GPA north of 96 percent), recruits are required to participate in the intensive daily physical training program – running, weight training, core exercise – and work performance evaluation training. Recruit school is structured in a paramilitary manner, and recruits are expected to maintain a high standard of professionalism at all times. It’s hard to meet the physical and mental qualifications for recruit school, and may be even harder to stay there, but becoming a member of one of the most outstanding fire and rescue departments in the nation is well worth it – for the recruit and for the community. The next recruit school will begin on September 19.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.