Committed to Excellence
Stafford County Sheriff's Office
Site



Public Safety Center
Ford T. Humphrey Building

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 189
Stafford, VA 22555

Physical Address:
1225 Courthouse Rd.
Stafford, VA 22554

Information:




Stafford Alert








 

 
 

     The mission of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Unit is to create a stronger, safer, and more secure county by working with the community and citizens we serve, as well as our regional, state and federal partners to protect against the ever-evolving threats facing the region. The HSEM Unit is aligned with and contributes directly to the mission of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to safeguard the homeland and keep the American people safe. 

      The HSEM Unit is based upon the guiding principal that the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is positioned to prevent, deter and confront violence in our community in collaboration with regional, state and federal partners through intelligence gathering, community partnerships, planning and education. 

      One of the most important lessons the nation learned in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 is the importance of collaboration between local law enforcement and their communities. Community-oriented policing efforts at the local level play a significant role in combating threats facing your local community as well as the homeland.

      The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been aggressively pushing the idea that homeland security begins with hometown security, and that local authorities need to be empowered to work with their communities to develop community-based solutions to counter violent extremism and other types of crime. The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is committed to doing just that through the following:

  • Intelligence Gathering
  • Information Sharing and Dissemination
  • Investigations

     The Stafford County Sheriff's Office Homeland Security Unit is partnered with local, state and federal agencies to gather, evaluate, analyze, investigate and disseminate information and intelligence data regarding criminal activity and potential threats to include terrorist activity in the area and surrounding areas.   

      A component of intelligence gathering and sharing is the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office SHIELD Program, which is the platform between the community and the Sheriff’s Office that allows for information to flow back and forth for mutual benefit.  The SCSO SHIELD was created in partnership with the NYPD SHIELD and reaches beyond the borders of Stafford County to keep our community partners informed.

       As a member of the SHIELD program, you will have an opportunity to take an active role in helping to make Stafford a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. The process for connecting with the SHIELD program is simple. If you are interested in participating in the program, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4030, or email your inquiries to SHIELD@staffordcountyva.gov.

       A second component of community based intelligence gathering is the If you See something Say something  campaign, where community members learn about indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and about the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities.  

Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
 
  • Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
 
  • Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
 

Some of these activities could be innocent—it's up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation. The activities above are not all-inclusive, but have been compiled based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years.

The "If You See Something, Say Something®" campaign respects citizens' privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity.

Factors such as race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation are not suspicious. The public should only report suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or package, or someone breaking into a restricted area). Only reports that document behavior that is reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.

 

  • Community Partnerships

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Homeland Security Unit is committed to building lasting and meaningful relationships with local government, businesses, houses of worship, medical facilities, educational facilities and any other places that the threat of criminal activity, terrorism, or violence may occur.  The Homeland Security Unit offers various resources and education opportunities to our local partners such as Worship Watch, Business Watch, Stop the Bleed training, building security assessments and plans to improve safety and security within your organization.

 

  • Special Event Planning

It is an unfortunate but very real fact that any large group of people in a particular area at one time is now considered a potential target for someone wishing to do harm on a large scale.  It is the goal of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Homeland Security Unit, along with its partners and event sponsors to eliminate and or minimize such a risk through proper planning and the deployment of dedicated specialized personnel to any event which it is deemed necessary.  In planning and managing special events, law enforcement must:

 

  • Plan for worst-case scenarios—extraordinary crimes, violence by protestors, a possible terrorist attack, natural disasters—but also be thoroughly prepared to deal with ordinary crimes and incidents (fights, drunkenness, etc.).
 
  • Weigh the security measures that conceivably could be taken (e.g., street closures, searches, highly visible tactical units) against the jurisdiction’s desire to produce events that are enjoyable, well attended, and profitable.
 
  • Ensure that the event continues safely and at the same time respect Constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and assembly.
 
  • Establish new and effective—but temporary—organizational arrangements, management structures, and methods of communication.
 
  • Ensure that the rest of the jurisdiction receives essential law enforcement services, regardless of the size or importance of the event.
 
  • Ensure that appropriate federal officials, such as DHS State Homeland Security Advisors, are informed in advance about events with national or international significance to guarantee federal awareness and possible support.
 

If you have questions regarding the SCSO Homeland Security Unit please call (540) 658-4030 or email SHIELD@staffordcountyva.gov

 

 

 


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