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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Mason District police commander outlines priorities

The top priority of the Mason Police District’s new commander, Capt. David Smith, is to focus on the “business practices” of running the station, he told local residents at a meeting of the station’s Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) Feb. 4. His first order of business is ensuring there are enough trained officers to cover three shifts a day, which is challenging when an increasing number of officers are retiring.

Smith intends to focus on “maintaining a high level of morale and productivity,” so he doesn’t expect to have a lot of time to devote to public relations activities, although he does plan to meet with community groups whenever possible.  

Smith has been with the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) for 21 years, starting as a patrol officer with the West Springfield Police District. Before taking command of the Mason station in early January, he’d been assistant director of the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Training Academy.

Other positions he’s held at FCPD include stints at the motor squad and the Internal Affairs Bureau; supervisory positions with the sex crimes, cold case, and homicide units; assistant commander of the Franconia station; and assistant commander of the intel division.

“I’m very excited to come here. This is a busy station,” Smith said. He praised the Mason station’s officers, noting that his job “is to motivate people, but these guys don’t need much motivating.”

Members of the station’s midnight A squad stood at the back of the room as Smith congratulated them for winning by a huge margin a county-wide competition on drunk-driving arrests. The Mason squad made 109 DWI arrests in December 2013, while the second-place station, Mt. Vernon, only made 50.

The Mason station also has a brand new assistant commander, 1st Lt. Michael Grinnan, who had been reassigned from the FCPD Traffic Division. Grinnan is the father of 11-year-old quadruplets.

Second Lt. Joe Flynn, newly promoted to criminal investigations supervisor at the Mason station, talked about some of the major crimes in Mason over the past few weeks, including several arrests for prostitution/human trafficking. Those cases involved tips from neighbors who noticed unusual activity at apartments in Seven Corners and Bailey’s Crossroads. “We don’t have a major problem with prostitution here,” he assured the CAC.

In general, “we haven’t seen any major patterns” of criminal activity in recent weeks, Flynn said; “It’s mostly been crimes of opportunity.” For example, he cited an incident involving grand larceny and drugs at Woodburn Village Drive and another case in the same location involving robbery and use of a firearm, which later turned out to be a BB gun.

Other arrests involved a 15-year-old who stole a laptop from a house, several incidents involving items stolen from unlocked cars, and the theft of wheels from a Corvette and Chevy Suburban. The police have a suspect and expect to make arrests soon in cases dealing with thefts TJ Maxx and Marshalls in Bailey’s Crossroads. The thieves have been targeting Michael Kors bags.

The series of break-ins and burglaries that affected several Annandale neighborhoods last fall seems to be over, he said, since a suspect was caught during a manhunt in November. A bystander, Joe Brygger, who was installing windows on a house, tackled a suspect being chased by police. It turned out the suspect was wanted by another jurisdiction for unrelated crimes and hasn’t been officially connected with the burglaries, but there haven’t been any break-ins since he was arrested.


  1. Welcome to Capt. David Smith and Lt. Michael Grinnan! Mason Dist residents invited to attend the next regular CAC mtg on Tues., March 4, to meet them and share any of your concerns.

  2. Wasn't a twelve year old boy stabbed at 7 corners shopping center in early January? Not much info on that...

  3. I can't be the only one who finds the concept of police having an arrest competition a little disturbing.

    1. Agreed. Minimum arrest quotas have been held unconstitutional; a competition is just a half-step short of that.

  4. Loretta Prencipe2/6/14, 8:03 AM

    Capt. Smith has agreed to attend the March meeting of Lincolnia Park Civic Association. He's also agreed to do a ride through of the neighborhood with residents.

  5. Natalie Forowa3/14/14, 10:46 AM

    Does Capt David Smith believe in enforcing antipollution laws like Virginia's Article 41 and Fairfax County law 103-3-10, which are enacted to protect us from the constant pumping out of cancer-causing diesel fumes by commercial vehicles while idling. Every parking lot, especially one with a fast food joint, is continually infested by commercial vehicle operators who opt to eat their breakfast or lunch in the comfort of their cabs, idling the engine while downing their meal, instead of turning off the truck. It never occurs to them that they are poisoning the entire area as well as the planet with their fumes.There are 3003 Va residents dying of Lower Respiratory Diseases a year, caused by pollution. Why would you not enforce laws that are already in the books if it means protecting public health? Do you need the illegal idling to be accompanied by drugs or sex to get involved?