Free cab rides available after July Fourth parties

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide program will offer free cab rides home from 10 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday.

“On Independence Day, four out of every 10 U.S. traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers,” WRAP President Kurt Gregory Erickson said in announcing the program.

Area residents 21 and older may call the toll-free SoberRide phone number, 800-200-TAXI. AT&T wireless customers can dial #WRAP for the service.

The free rides are available in the District and in Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Participating cab companies include Alexandria Yellow Cab, Barwood, Fairfax Yellow Cab, Loudoun Yellow Cab, Manassas Cab Co., Red Top Cab, Silver Cab of Prince George’s, Yellow Cab of the District and Yellow Cab of Prince William.

The SoberRide program has reported providing 57,990 free cab rides to area residents since 1993. For information, go to

Leesburg firefighters aid Va. recruitment

On Monday, the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association announced that the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company is one of 14 Virginia fire departments chosen to participate in Volunteer Workforce Solutions, a federally funded program designed to increase the recruitment of volunteer firefighters.

Two-thirds of Virginia firefighters are volunteers, and the Chiefs Association’s research indicates that staffing is the most pressing issue faced by the state’s volunteer fire departments.

“Over the last several years, it has been very tough for many fire departments throughout Virginia to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons,” said Jimmy Carter, executive director of the Chiefs Association. “Most volunteer fire departments are struggling to bolster their volunteer workforce.”

The Leesburg volunteer company, which serves a population of 50,000 over 44 square miles, has about 70 firefighters and would like to recruit 20 more.

“We are excited about the support that we are receiving through the VWS grant program, and will work hard to achieve our recruiting goals,” said Richard Wolfe, Leesburg Fire Company president.

Information about the recruitment program is at

Loudoun, Fairfax conduct joint K9 training program

On Friday, three new deputy canines and their partners — Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Senior Deputy Charles Rounds and Barney, a Belgian Malinois; Deputy Spec. Jason Weller and Cora, a Belgian Malinois; and Detective Mike Roche and Maks, a chocolate Labrador — graduated from K9 basic-training school.

The program, the first such collaboration between the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office and the Fairfax County Police Department, was led by Master Deputy Todd Bailey of the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office and Pfc. Brad Weeks of the Fairfax police. The training was both traditional — obedience and tracking — and specialized, such as searching buildings for people and detecting narcotics.

“This is the first time a basic canine school was conducted in partnership with an outside agency,” Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman said in a statement. “We hope to continue to develop a working relationship with both canine sections from the Fairfax County Police Department and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.”

The three-month training program had a total of seven graduates.