Last weekend Tysons Corner Center was the safest place to be in Fairfax County. The mall held its first annual Public Safety Awareness Weekend, and a bevy of official vehicles, toys and gadgets were on display from Sept. 22-24.
"The purpose of this is to help shoppers, community members and guests of the community to get a better sense of the public safety services that are available in our region," said Kathy Hannon, Tysons Corner Center property manager for the Macerich Corp.
A multitude of public safety organizations participated in the event, including the Fairfax County Police Department, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, Fairfax County Health Dept./Medical Reserve Corps, the Town of Vienna Police Department, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the United States Park Police, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the United States Secret Service. Throughout the weekend, representatives from these organizations were on hand in the mall, along with equipment displays from their departments.
ON FRIDAY MORNING, Sept. 22, a kick-off event was held in the Lord & Taylor parking lot. Public officials and public safety department members commended Fairfax County's commitment to cooperation.
Col. David Rohr, chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, noted that the Fairfax community is fortunate to have so many public safety organizations at its service.
"Whether it's Fairfax County Police, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, the U.S. Park Police or whatever it might be — the partnerships in this community are immense," said Rohr who has had a working relationship with Tysons Corner for the past 26 years.
Sgt. Terry Licklider of the Virginia State Police said that the Public Safety Weekend would serve an important purpose.
"These types of events foster good relationships — not only between the public safety organizations involved — but also between the community members and businesses we serve," said Licklider.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Deputy Chief Andrew Sneed agreed and added that community relations are important, as public safety officials depend upon the help of citizens for success.
"It's important that the residents see and interact with public safety personnel," said Sneed. "A team is a total effort of all members, and that's what we have here this weekend."
Chief Robert Carlyle of the Town of Vienna Police Department said that the event promotes good citizen and police relations by providing quality face-to-face time.
"It gives the community the chance to interact with and get to know the women and men who serve them," said Carlyle.
Over the weekend visitors to the mall seemed to enjoy the plethora of equipment displays. Kris Avedon came to Tysons for lunch on Saturday, and was quite taken with the Federal Bureau of Investigations vehicle display in Parking Lot 6.
"It makes me want to be an FBI agent," said Avedon, who resides in Alexandria.