At the moment one officer, after a stay in the hospital, is recovering at home. The second officer is in critical condition after being life-flighted to an off-island hospital. I, and members of the VIPD, have responded to the needs of the families of the wounded officers and will support each of the officers with all that is within our power as we offer prayers for their recovery.
I want it clearly understood by ALL that the VIPD will be even more diligent in their mission to deliver lawful and effective service in the Territory 24/7.
As I stated earlier, I recently returned from the Caribbean Commissioners’ Conference where the theme was “Transforming National Success into Regional Action: Successful Partnership for Effective Policing.”
This theme coincides with my continuous position that it will take team work to address the issues, not only in the USVI but those issues we share with entire Caribbean.
The conception is that drugs, guns and gang violence is plaguing the Caribbean countries, especially and including the USVI. It is important to note that the only member country of the ACCP representing the United States is the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The proliferation of guns in the Caribbean is at an epidemic proportion and the USVI is not excluded.
The Federal Agencies have recognized this and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have recommended the formulation of Gun Squads to enhance the pursuit of gun traffickers and gun tracing in the USVI.
I intend to form such a squad and to address the ancillary drug and gang violence as well. To do this will require teaming with our Federal Partners in ways we must improve upon.
It is imperative that “Peace Officer” status be granted to ALL U.S. Federal Investigative Agencies to exact the full benefit of their abilities to address the onslaught of criminal activity on our paradise.
Today is indeed a challenge for the VIPD in meeting the mandates of the DOJ/VIPD Consent Decree and at the same time provide the service and safety to the territory that it richly deserves.
We have dedicated sworn and non-sworn members of the VIPD whom will not give in and are looking our support, leadership and direction, as they are also integral members of our community as well.
I do not intend to let them down. The VIPD will forge partnerships not only with Law Enforcement Agencies within the Virgin Islands, but with a number of Caribbean Law Enforcement Agencies as well.
I will be conducting plenary sessions with VIPD officers to ensure this message and additional instructions are provided directly, from me, to the entire body.
To the community, I ask you to please be cognizant of the needs of your VIPD. Pray for the wounded officers and their families. Beconfident that the VIPD stands ready to provide the service that you need and deserve.
Thank you and God Bless the United States Virgin Islands.