Last week, the Virginia Association of Counties named Chesterfield County the recipient of two 2019 Achievement Awards, including the program’s highest recognition, the “Best...

Last week, the Virginia Association of Counties named Chesterfield County the recipient of two 2019 Achievement Awards, including the program’s highest recognition, the “Best Achievement Award.”

The county leads the VACo all-time achievement list with 32 awards, earning at least one award since the program’s inception.

The VACo Achievement Awards highlight innovative programs focused on addressing high-priority issues that challenge counties today. This year, the county received two awards, including the overall Best Achievement Award, recognizing the Police Experience Program and the county’s Detention Review Team. These awards come on the heels of Chesterfield receiving the Best Large County Achievement Award in 2017 and 2018, which recognizes the highest overall achievement among counties with a population greater than 50,000.

“Powerful, impactful programs and initiatives like these stem from Chesterfield’s commitment to building relationships with our community and bettering the lives of our citizens,” county administrator Joe Casey said.

“We are incredibly proud that the Virginia Association of Counties has consistently recognized Chesterfield’s efforts to connect with its citizens to create change and move the county forward.”

“Through this initiative [Police Experience Program], officers and Virginia State University students have gained a better awareness and understanding of each other. We are proud of this problem-solving partnership, and we look forward to its continued positive impact in our community,” police chief Jeffrey S. Katz said.

Launched in 2006, the program is a partnership between Chesterfield Police’s Community Services unit and the university’s criminal justice program. More than 100 students have participated in the program to date.

Chesterfield County’s Detention Review Team was also recognized with a VACo Achievement Award. The innovative, cross-departmental team includes representation from juvenile detention homes, the Court Services Unit and Mental Health Support Services. The team was established in July 2017 to conduct weekly reviews of juvenile cases to ensure services are being rendered in a timely manner and the juveniles receive necessary contacts with family members, counselors, probation officers and attorneys. Since its implementation, the team has reviewed more than 1,250 cases involving over 180 juveniles and has secured earlier court days, shorter detention stays and increased services and engagement for juveniles.