Friday, Oct. 26, was not a good day for 23 individuals in Mount Vernon District seeking the services of prostitutes at two Richmond Highway motels.
Instead, they got grief from undercover police officers participating in a "prostitution reversal operation."
Conducted under the supervision of Captain Mike Kline, commander for the Mount Vernon District Station of the Fairfax County Police Department, the individuals were arrested at the Alexandria and Brookside motels when they solicited the services of those they believed were prostitutes.
In fact, they were undercover female police officers at both locations.
"This initiative was conducted at my request based on citizen complaints and the police department's own intelligence that on-going street level prostitution continues to be a problem within the Mount Vernon District," Kline said in a letter given to each arrestee at their booking.
"I would like to take this time, now that we have your undivided attention, to inform you that both engaging in the act of prostitution and soliciting the services of a prostitute constitute extremely high risk behaviors," Kline explained in his letter.
He went on to point out that those involved in prostitution "needlessly place themselves in positions to be victims of violent crimes such as assault, robbery, sexual assault, and even murder. The act of street walking by prostitutes has also been the direct causative factor in motor vehicle and pedestrian crashes."
In addition to being exposed to these crime possibilities, Kline emphasized the very serious health risks that can also lead to life-long suffering and even death. "I strongly encourage you to have a blood test immediately upon release from custody," he advised.
The operation was conducted by the Department's Street Crimes Unit, assisted by the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Patrol Unit, as part of an anti-prostitution initiative. It is conducted bi-annually at various locations along the Richmond Highway corridor under the jurisdiction of the Mount Vernon Station.
Each arrestee on this date was charged with solicitation of prostitution, which is a class one misdemeanor. They were registered into a police data file for any future violations.
"As part of this initiative, the names of all arrestees will be provided to the media as part of a press release," Kline said in closing his letter to those arrested.