Hover here for Site Tools

Government
County Awards and Recognition

NACo Logo 

Chesterfield County recently received 17 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties. These awards recognize the ways that local governments are providing better, more innovative services to their residents, and strengthening communities across the country.

 

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. The awards are given in categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services that counties provide. NACo will recognize the award-winning counties at its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition, July 13-16 in Davidson County, Tennessee.

 

“I’m delighted that Chesterfield’s many innovative services were recognized this year,” said County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey. “Virtually all our innovation submittals received an award. It is flattering to see other localities emulate many of our prior award topics, but most importantly, the dedication our employees have in serving our citizens better.”

 


 

 

The 2018 award winners are: 

Communications and Media - Government Citizens Academy

Chesterfield County greatly values civic engagement and opportunities for residents to learn about their local government. A new program called the Government Citizens Academy (GCA) was developed to enable citizens, through interactive sessions and tours of community facilities, to get a comprehensive look at how and why programs and services are provided. This is a new tool to enhance and grow the county’s communications efforts and increase engagement by providing hands-on learning and opportunities for citizens to provide feedback.

Held twice a year, in the spring and fall, the GCA is designed to accommodate 25-30 people, providing a more intimate learning environment to exchange information and ideas. In the spring, sessions are at night and during the day in the fall. Scheduling the academies at different times makes the program appealing to all demographics, including retirees, long-time residents, business owners, high school students, prospective homeowners, or residents wanting to learn more about their government.

Designed to introduce participants to their county, which is 437 square miles, a session is held in each magisterial district. Bringing the classes to the community, versus having them at the government complex, took many participants to areas they had never been before.

Fire and Emergency Medical Services - Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program

Chesterfield County Fire and EMS is utilizing a unique and innovative approach to assist residents of Chesterfield County to manage emergent and non-emergent medical concerns. This approach, the Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) Team, utilizes select specially trained and focused paramedics within the department to address frequent users of the 9-1-1 system and residents who have unmet medical needs. This is done by navigating the customers to existing resources to help manage their medical conditions and ultimately not need to use 9-1-1. The program leverages the specialized training of paramedics to help identify medical challenges, then accessing the comprehensive network of county human services and private partnerships. These professional relationships have been forged to help connect the customer to the resources they need. The MIH program, which began initial operations in February of 2014, has responded to over 1000 residents. These customers have been identified by operational crews as potentially needing assistance. Over the last four years, through the intervention of the MIH team, the program has effectively reduced the use of medically related 9-1-1 calls by residents in the program by 49 percent, connected them with human services agencies like mental health, social services, senior services and connected them with primary care.

Juvenile Detention Home - Operationalizing a System of Care and Breaking Down Silos: The Sharing of a Senior Mental Health Clinician across Juvenile Justice Agencies in Chesterfield County

Chesterfield County, Virginia juvenile justice agencies, as part of a local System of Care community with other child-serving agencies, knew they needed to be innovative and collaborative when it came to addressing the many and varying needs of their court-involved youth. It was clear that youth were showing signs of trauma, mental illness and were at high risk to re-offend (based on YASI scores). The Court Services Unit, the Juvenile Detention Home, and the Adolescent Reporting Program were all targeting the issues, but in silos. Despite best intentions, there was fragmented sharing of information, and often, youth and their families had to re-tell their stories and provide redundant information to strangers, which is not a trauma-informed approach to working with court-involved youth. Therefore, a shared position was created: the Systems of Care Senior Mental Health Clinician.

The Systems of Care Senior Mental Health Clinician endeavors to meet with youth and their families at every phase of the juvenile justice process. The shared position enables youth and families to see a familiar face at every proceeding and in varying levels of system involvement and subsequent crisis/trauma. Youth and their families are more comfortable with a familiar face, and the juvenile justice agencies are better able to track and assess the needs of their clients. As a result, the needs of this community’s juvenile justice clients are met consistently. Further, court-involved youth can remain in the community with tools, connections and resources that reduce recidivism and the symptoms of mental illness.

Libraries - Breaking Barriers Behind Bars

Since August 2016, Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) and the Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Home (CJDH) have collaborated to provide learning opportunities for and cultivate relationships with CJDH’s teen residents. As part of the program “Breaking Barriers Behind Bars,” librarians assist those at-risk teens with cultivating new interests to replace problem behaviors.

During weekly visits, librarians engage with incarcerated teens through educational programming and one-on-one sessions to help them learn about new topics and work on job applications. Additionally, a book discussion series supported by an American Library Association (ALA) and National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) grant, provides the teens with opportunities to read about and discuss the underlying factors and mental health issues linked to violence and suicide. By visiting the CJDH, librarians develop relationships with detained teens so the teens came make a connection with their local library and continue to rely on it as a trusted learning resource after their release from detention.

These outreach programs have resulted in librarians working individually with more than 20 detention home residents. The partnership continues to strengthen as student demand for librarian consultations increase and CCPL identifies additional staff members to work with teens at the detention home.

Libraries – My First School Bus 

Since summer 2015, Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL), Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) and the Chesterfield County Police Department (CCPD) have collaborated to provide rising kindergarteners and pre-kindergarteners an opportunity to get comfortable with a school bus and learn bus safety, all before starting their first official day of school.

The “My First School Bus” program started as one program at one library in 2015. With increasing popularity, it quickly grew to nine programs across the system in 2017. CCPS elementary schools offer kindergarten orientations, but not all of them included school bus tours, which led to parents’ interest in the library’s program.

In January 2017, CCPL programming staff met with representatives from CCPD to develop a schedule of visits and decide on the structure of the program. CCPL coordinated with CCPS to secure school buses and drivers for those dates. CCPS also committed to bringing school buses for special needs students, as their experience would be different from riding a traditional school bus. The local American Automotive Association (AAA) provided Otto the Auto, a remote-controlled talking vehicle that teaches children the importance of buckling up, looking both ways when crossing the street and other automobile safety tips, to many of the programs.

Libraries – Teen Financial Literacy

An important initiative at Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) is to bring financial literacy information to our diverse community, particularly to teens and their families. We also wanted to establish local partnerships with schools, businesses, and churches in the new North Courthouse Road Library neighborhood. By promoting financial literacy for teens, we sought to develop a new audience for this timely topic. One of the ways we accomplished this was, starting in October 2017, to participate in a program called Thinking Money, a traveling exhibit that was geared toward teens and tweens. We developed programs that were of interest to teens, including a coffeehouse event featuring an opportunity for them to envision their future selves through the creation of a poster with an artist from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In addition to teens, the financial literacy initiative also applied to their parents. The goal was to bring the entire family into discussions about money management and concepts such as needs versus wants and starting a rainy-day fund. CCPL believes that by getting an early start on developing a positive attitude toward money, teens can learn to make good decisions and confidently plan for their future.

Libraries - CCPL Toy Collection

On June 1, 2017, the Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) launched its first ever toy collection. The collection has initiated a model for the lending of toys to the Chesterfield County community, while providing financial and environmental benefits to parents, and social and educational benefits to children under the age of five.

The toy collection was launched at Clover Hill Library, which served as a pilot location. Children’s staff selected toys for lending based on specific criteria:

  • Educational value, focusing on development skills such as gross and fine motor skills, cognitive learning and creative play;
  • Age group (zero to five years);
  • All toys met choking hazard requirements as established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and
  • Toys were required to contain no batteries.

The program was evaluated three months after its launch, and the results were positive. Circulation numbers showed 60 to 75 percent of the collection was checked out at any given time. Survey results showed, across the board, that patrons believed the toy collection was a great idea. It saved them money by not having to buy new toys, and saved space as well since they no longer had to store the new toys at home. 

Mental Health Support Services and Communications and Media - Suicide Awareness Campaign

During October and November of 2017, Chesterfield County and the Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition worked to raise awareness about the risk of suicide in adolescents and young adults through a multi-faceted, coordinated community-wide campaign. The goal of the campaign, Ask the Question. Act to Prevent Suicide., was to reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions and encourage people of all ages to reach out for help – for themselves and for loved ones. Often people, and particularly young people, are uncomfortable reaching out for help. And, those concerned about them, their friends and family, also are unsure of what to do. The county and the coalition hoped that through educational efforts they could help those who are struggling, or even contemplating suicide, to connect with people who can recognize warning signs and get them help. The key message is that suicide is preventable, but people need to act.

Suicide prevention is a focus area for Chesterfield County government and schools, and many non-profits and other community organizations. This campaign filled in a gap for a coordinated approach in increasing community awareness, and cooperation within the county in addressing a shared concern. 

Parks and Recreation - River City Sportsplex Operational Overhaul

In 2012, Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) took control of River City Sportsplex as the largest creditor of record during the bankruptcy proceedings of the original owner; however, operation of an athletic complex was not part of the core business of Shaw. Chesterfield County was well acquainted with the facility and did not hesitate to purchase the site when it became available in December of 2016.

When management of the facility was turned over to the County’s Parks and Recreation Department (Department), the partially completed facility was in a state of disrepair. Thousands of pounds of debris were removed from the location, long-ignored maintenance tasks were addressed, and a plan for the completion of the facility was developed. The Department altered job responsibilities to operate the facility. The Department’s Sports Tourism and Finance divisions worked collaboratively to analyze existing contract terms, set up a compliance and payment tracking system, and collect past due accounts.

In the one year since the County’s acquisition of the property, the collective efforts of the Department have established River City Sportsplex as the premier destination for youth sports tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Police Department - Five-O Fridays

Chesterfield County Police Department's School Safety Unit supplements uniform operations during the summer months while school is not in session. Juvenile crime and juvenile related calls for service can often be a result of the increased time our younger population has during the summer months. To counter this free time for our county's youth, and to promote positive interaction with police, the School Safety Unit piloted a program aimed at engaging the youth with various classes and events.

The program was named "Five-O Fridays”. Each Friday during the summer was the day of the week that two apartment complexes were visited by the same police officers, and various classes were instructed to neighborhood children. Consistent schedules with familiar faces set a baseline of familiarity to make it easier for the children to relate to police as normal people and build trust in the community.

Sheriff’s Office - Peer Recovery Support Specialist Certification

Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS) training is offered by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to people in mental health or substance abuse recovery who are interested in becoming a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. Once certified these individuals can begin to work with addicts and hopefully get them on the road to recovery. The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office is the first and only jail in Virginia to offer the 72-hour course to still incarcerated individuals, specifically those who are actively recovering and participating in our Heroin Addiction Recovery (HARP) and Bridge Programs. While both of these programs focus on substance abuse HARP focuses specifically on Heroin and Bridge on all substances. The PRS course is held in our jail and is offered to male and female inmates. The course includes 60 hours of classroom training and 12 hours of self-study assignments and 20 models covering a multitude of topics that address relationships, resiliency, behavioral health challenges, communication and more. Official certification requires each person to complete 500 hours of volunteer or paid facilitation. DBHDS requires 25 of the 500 hours to be supervised by previously certified personnel. In response to this, the Sheriff’s Office teamed up with a facility in the City of Richmond called Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA) to assist with supervision of facilitation hours. Inmates who have completed the PRS course are transported to the SAARA facility in plain clothes by a uniformed deputy. Inmates are allowed to wear plain clothes so they can participate in the groups without the stigma of being in a jail uniform. 

Sheriff’s Office – Academy History Runs

The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office recruits participate on history runs, scheduled throughout the basic academy curriculum. In one, they run to the historic 1917 Chesterfield County Courthouse, and there get a history lesson highlighting the construction of the courthouse and historic cases tried in it, followed by a tour. History runs also highlight the history of the Sheriff’s Office and help instill pride in recruits as well as familiarize them with the layout of the county complex. 

Sheriff’s Office – Court Early Warning Project

The Court Early Warning Project is a technology improvement project undertaken by the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office with the cooperation of the Chesterfield County Information System Technology Department, Chesterfield County Police Department, and the Virginia Supreme Court.

The program assists in improving courtroom security by automating wanted checks of litigants coming before the court against the local wanted database in real time. Previously dockets were printed out weeks in advance and checked manually. This time-consuming process took over 30 hours a week to complete and only checked a portion of the dockets before the courts. Printing out the dockets weeks in advance included cases that were ultimately plead out or continued or generated false positives due to warrants being served during the time lapse and not having the ability to check against personal identifiers.

The previous process cost the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office approximately $25,000 annually in personnel cost against a cost to implement of $41,000. Since implementation over 3800 names are checked on average weekly yielding an average of 64 positive hits against the wanted files. This represents a 5 percent increase of names checked with a 36 percent increase of positive responses from previous results.

Transportation – Weight Restricted Bridge Crossing Program

In a collaborative, multi‐agency effort, the Chesterfield County Department of Transportation (CDOT) successfully established a new, replicable, bridge testing process to allow all Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) to cross posted bridges during emergencies. The initial bridge tested using this process has a load posting of 10 tons which would only permit an ambulance to cross, not the Fire Department’s heaviest vehicle an aerial ladder truck, rated at 40 tons. After successfully implementing the initial live‐load test of the Mt. Hermon Road posted bridge, several other locations in Chesterfield County and other localities in the region were successfully tested and permitted for ERV crossings. This resulted in a significant improvement to the emergency response times for millions of dollars’ worth of property and increased safety for those residents.

Utilities – Enhancing a Leak Adjustment Program through Positive Communication

In November 2016, Chesterfield County’s Department of Utilities’ Finance and Administration group initiated an employee Performance Action Team (PAT) to address issues pertaining to the leak-adjustment process. The issues centered around the notification of leak investigations and responses to customers. We improved the current program by notifying customers by letter regarding the outcome of leak investigations regardless of the outcome. In addition, we outlined a clear set of steps for customers to request a leak adjustment, and we developed a leak adjustment form for customers to submit for their request. Six letters were developed regarding the approval or denial of the customer’s leak adjustment request. The notification to the customers were modified to ensure customers were notified expeditiously of the outcome of their leak adjustment request. The PAT recommended that the new letters provide a softer tone in response to the customer’s request. The PAT ensured the letters included an explanation of why the request was approved or denied. The team highly recommended that the result of the investigation be explained in the most positive manner as possible. The main objective was to improve and enhance our customer service level to provide a positive interaction with our customers, improve our business process, and improve our customer service metrics. The PAT was very conscious that we implement our new process in a positive manner so that customers would have a better understanding of our leak adjustment policy.

Utilities – Providing Customer Service Excellence to Our Customers

The Chesterfield County Department of Utilities provides water service to more than 109,000 customers and wastewater service to more than 92,000 customers in the county. The department’s mission is to provide the highest quality water and wastewater services that meet or exceed the needs and expectations of our present and future customers. The department is a public utility that is committed to using state of-the-art technology to deliver the highest quality customer service to our customers. 

Utilities – Inflow and Infiltration Reduction Program 

Chesterfield County owns and operates two wastewater treatment facilities with a combined permitted capacity to treat 39 million gallons of wastewater per day. As with all municipal wastewater treatment facilities, it is a continuous challenge to provide safe, environmentally- friendly and cost-effective treatment. One component of that treatment cost is wastewater conveyance from homes, industries, and business to the treatment works. Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) causes this cost to increase and consumes treatment capacity at the wastewater treatment plants. The Inflow an Infiltration Reduction Program developed a systematic approach to assisting in monitoring and reducing I&I, thereby providing safe and cost-effective conveyance of wastewater. Most importantly, the program maximizes the existing treatment capacity of the wastewater treatment plants, postponing costly upgrades and saving existing rate payers on their utility bill.