Chief Longo turns traffic cop

Morning drivers on Market Street got a high-level hand-waving today, as Charlottesville's police chief assumed the duty of directing traffic after an accident near Vinegar Hill Theatre.

"I do whatever I can to help," Chief Tim Longo says. "Just because I'm the Police Chief doesn't mean I don't share in the responsibilities."

Longo says his trunk full of professional paraphernalia came in handy when he happened to pass by the accident around 11am. Donning a day-glo green reflective vest, the whistle-in-mouth chief and another officer directed traffic around the scene. Even after the wreckage was cleared, the duo continued to help cars navigate around fire and rescue vehicles on the scene.
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18 comments

If there's any news here, it's that a police officer is doing something other than eating doughnuts or racial profiling.

Slowing Down, no, the city staff shouldn't care less. Their installing of the speed hump was at the request of the citizens who live in the neighborhood. Go to one of their meetings and complain to them. That's the point of the hump, to make people slow down. People have been clocked at speeds over 45 mph traveling in that 25 mph zone. I'm sure they and those dreadful people treating you in such a rude way are from out of state. Charlottesvillians do not behave that way.

So you propose...what...? That we only have sheriffs with absolutely no law-enforcement experience?

I checked on the amount and I over estimated a tad. Apparently a married cop with two kids pays approximately $300.00, married cop with one kid $262.00.
You are obviously privy to more information than me in regards to police officers and the
worth of their homes. What do their spouses do? Family money?
I checked and the county's starting pay is $32,000.00 and of course after taxes probably about
$27-28, 000. I don't know, it seems to me that if these people are willing to put themselves in
danger, save lives and attempt to keep communities safe it seems they should all be able to live
in places like Glenmore or Redfields.
There are bad apples in every workplace...

OK Jess, is health insurance something no other worker has to provide for his/her family? What's the solution? Raise taxes and give law enforcement officers and their families totally free health insurance? The construction worker making $20 an hour ($41,600 a year) and trying to raise his two children will just have to bite the bullet and pay his own way because he doesn't wear a badge and gun to work. What's fair about this?

I can't follow your logic in the Glenmore thing as well. We are suppose to pay police officers well enough so they can afford $850,000 to $1,000,000 homes in Glenmore? Neither one of our current chiefs of police live in Glenmore or live in a $850,000 to $1,000,000 home. What's the solution here? Raise police officers pay to $250,000 annually?

The "willing to put themselves in danger" thing puzzles me as well. Being a police officer is nowhere near the top of the list in most dangerous professions. Deep sea fishermen have the highest mortality rate per 100,000. Right behind them is loggers, airline pilots, truck drivers, taxi drivers and a few other chosen professions. The last survey I saw placed police officers at about the 24th spot in rank of the most dangerous professions.

You have to remember there is no draft in the law enforcement profession. Nobody forces any of them to take the job. But once they do have the job all they want to do is whine about the conditions, dangers, hours and pay. I for one am tired of listening to their whining every time they think they deserve a raise or better benefits so they can live in some rich exclusive neighborhood.

Right on Nev! Good for him and he is setting an example for the officers that work for him. Once again a cop looking out for YOUR safety.

Nev is in a huge mood today.

Maybe the chief needs to go down to the Locust Avenue bridge and direct traffic. Because if you attempt to slow down for the bump at the bridge southbound now people run over you, curse you out, blow horns, and raise all kinds of fingers out their windows. With the chief profiling maybe they will behave themselves! HAHAHA!

Guess what, Charlottesville? If you are behind me on Locust Avenue at the bridge you will slow down to almost a crawl as I enter onto the bridge. The city made it very clear during a telephone conversation this morning that they culdn't care less about the bump. I haven't talked to a city employee that seems to give a damn about anything lately.

Cville Eye, it's not a speed bump. It's the aftermath of having installed a new water line a few weeks ago. The ditch was dug about 2 feet from the concrete bridge surface. After the ditch was filled back in the other 2 feet of roadway settled real badly.

It has finally been repaired. After thousands of dollars worth of damage to people's cars.

Karen, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, it certainly *appears* that the position of sheriff in both Charlottesville City and Albemarle County are being used for less than what I would call admirable purposes. And it's not real hard to follow my logic. Take the city for example..... 4 sheriffs have now used the position to ENHANCE their retirement benefits. Namely, Mannie Norford, Carlton Baird, Buddy Rittenhouse and Cornelia Johnson. Having been sheriff for the last few years of their careers, compared to having stayed at the Charlottesville Police Department, their retirement checks are much more than they would have been (Cornelia's is still pending of course). Two retired city sheriffs packed up and left Charlottesville, so just how much did they care about the community and citizens in the first place? Baird died before he could enjoy his big fat retirment checks. And I hear Cornelia has plans to leave the City of Charlottesville once she retires (she is of course required to live in the city while being sheriff).

In the county it *appears* the position is being used to "double dip". The current sheriff will have a big fat retirement check along with his others from the federal government. And once Chip Harding is elected, he too will be creating yet another retirement check for himself in the long run. There's no way in hell we will elect Larry Claytor, a person who has devoted his entire life and career to the citizens of Albemarle County and has NO interest in this "double dipping" or any other devious scheme.

It totally amazes me that the taxpayers and citizens keep falling for these shenanigans!

Now as far as Madison County, won't the current sheriff soon be collecting a Madison County retirement check in addition to his Virginia State Police retirement? You see the trend here?

Slowing Down... Would you put your life on the line for people you don't know for the amount of money Cops and Deputies make?

Slowing Down...Personally I have not met a cop from the city or county that can afford to live in the place that they work. Can you afford to live in the county?
What are the statistics for the people in other professions that are arrested for wrong doing?
Is it fair to say that EVERY profession has "bad eggs"? Shall we talk politics...
And overtime? Who wants to work another 8 hours after already pulling thier time for a little
extra money? Obviously the cops so they can AFFORD to live. The many benefits you mentioned well did you realize that most have to pay $300 - $400 a month for health insurance hence the overtime.
As far as making the accusation it is a tarnished profession, I have to disagree with you. Why
don't you do a comparison on the amount of good things that cops do to the bad then I will
believe you have ground to stand on.

Slowing Down, I'm glad the problem near the bridge has been repaired. I hope this is not encouragement to the dangerous speeders along that stretch. I've found that a little patience is needed when the city is involved in small repair projects. Patience helps the blood pressure.
This year, according to the City's website, the starting salary for Charlottesville police officers is a little over $35,000, so the other $40k of the $75k is from overtime?
Pertaining to the sheriff's position, you are exactly right, it is a political position, not a career promotion. Perhaps Virginia should change its laws governing that position as well as that of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Regular police officers must retire at 60. The way their retire check is figured is to multiply 1.6% of their salary times the number of years they were employed within the City. If they worked 5 years they would get 8% of their monthly salary. If they worked 30 years, they would receive 48% of their salary. Social Security doesn't kick in at 60. If they can live off of this income at the age of 60, they know they will not be able to at the age of 80. So they must work as so many other retirees who choose to remain in an area whose cost of living is closer to that of northern Virginia than southside. After 9/11, everybody hugged a cop, but that didn't translate into dollars.

Jess, to my knowledge, no city or county police officer pays $300 t0 $400 a month for health insurance. It's is provided to them free as part of their benefits package. If they add family coverage it's still nowhere near $300 to $400 a month. I hope you can prove me wrong on this, please.

As far as living where they work? You still believe all of this? Just as a few examples, a county police officer lives right beside Chief Longo, in a $400,000+ home. Another county police officer lives in a $350,000 to $400,000 on Route 20 North. Another county police officer lives in Redfields (?) in a $400,000 home. A county corporal lives out past Cismont in a $450,000 home and has 2 other properties worth $650,000 in his name on the county tax page. The list can go on and on if you want to look into it more. I won't post their names or addresses though, that would be plain wrong.

Notwithstanding any of the above, sure, there's extremely young rookies that have just started out that may not be able to afford $350,000 to $450,000 homes. Most people can't when they're 21 to 25 years old and just starting out. This doesn't mean we start paying them $200,000 a year so they can live where they work. Or does it?

Cville Eye, I was told it was dug up again this morning. The saga starts over. HAHAHA!

Federal law says there is NO mandatory retirement age. Former Charlottesviile Deputy Sheriff Ida Lewis proved this I thought? They made her retire at age 60. She took off 2 years, then sued to get her job back. They had to her job back to her with back pay and benefits. Correct me if I am wrong.

Correct, the starting salary is $35,000+-. As I said above, add in the take home car. This alone amounts to a great deal of money in a year's time with the city now paying for their gas to and from work every day. Now add in the tremendous amounts of overtime availabe to them all after 9/11. And add in the benefits package. It's not hard to arrive at $75,000 easily. The total benefits package alone should be $15,000 to $20,000 a year. It's part of their salary above and beyond the actual money. Cops no longer work for peanuts. It's a myth.

I didn't hug any cops after 9/11. They did what they were getting paid to do. The real American heroes were the fighter pilots who took control of our airways so quickly and efficiently.

I wouldn't wear a badge for any amount of money, Jess. It is a tarnished profession now. Out of 700,000 to 800,000 law enforcement officers nationwide, at least a dozen per day are arrested for some type of wrongdoing. Sometimes more. Most of it is pretty serious crimes against the people they are suppose to be serving.

But anyhow, I've got news for you, Jess. Local police officers in the city and county make pretty decent money now. There's plenty of overtime now for any cop that wants it. The John Paul Jones Arena alone is padding most of their pockets rather well.

Counting salaried pay, overtime pay, take home car (with gas at $2.75 a gallon), and their many benefits.... even a brand new rookie to the force is a slacker if he isn't making $75,000 a year.

Once again, the public keeps subscribing to the "low pay" myth.

Good for the Chief! I doubt you would ever see any local Sheriff directing traffic or assisting their deputies especially here in Madison. Too bad every jurisdiction dosen't have a police department to call upon when law enforcement services are needed. Sheriff's Offices should stick to what they know- prisoner transport and court security. I'd take this Chief anyday over what Madison is dealing with!

Well Waldo, local history will show that law enforcement experience has nothing to do with the position of "sheriff" in either Charlottesville or Albemarle County (as explained belowin paragraph 3). But running with yur specific question anyway.... Captain Dave Duncan is a state certified law enforcement officer and has IMHO *run* the Charlottesille city sheriff's office for well over 30 years now. And still does after being held over as a part time employee. When the office needs quick reliable advice, who do they get on the phone? Did the democrats in the city at any time ever see fit to nominate Duncan as their candidate for sheriff? Of course not.

In the County of Albemarle, Larry Claytor is a certified law enforcement officer and has been a many-faceted volunteer in the Albemarle coummunity while working for the citizens of Albemarle for many decades. Have the republicans in the county ever considered him as their candidate of choice in any recent sheriff's election? Of course not.

Now, let's touch back too on the local histroy and duties of a "sheriff" in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. It's not about law enforcement. This is also why so many voters and taxpayers are fooled. It's about courthouse security, courtroom security, civil process service, and prisoner transport. Tell me what training CHIP HARDING has in any of this prior to being elected to sheriff this fall? Larry Claytor has this experience because it was part of his job when he worked for the Albemarle Sheriff's Office before the police department was born. For that matter, what experience did any of the past four sheriffs in Charlottesville have in the courthouse and courtroom security, civil process and prisoner transportation prior to being elected?

The bottom line is, with or without law enforcement experience, the republicans hand pick their sheriff in the county; and the democrats hand pick their sheriff in the city. It's been this way for a long time. And it's not likely to change anytime soon.