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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 23, 2024


May 8, 2003 – V.I. Inspector General Steven van Beverhoudt got some encouraging news Wednesday: Gov. Charles W. Turnbull sent the Senate a bill that would allow the Inspector General's Office to confer peace officer status on its investigators.
The bill also would allow the V.I. Lottery to do the same and allow both agencies to hire hire additional peace officers to assist in carrying out the mandates of their offices. However, neither agency has the funds to hire such new officers now.
The Inspector General's Office, like most other government agencies, is facing funding problems not resolved in the Fiscal Year 2003 budget. At the budget hearing for his office last year, lawmakers strongly indicated to van Beverhoudt that they would give him the increase he requested to fund his agency adequately and fill its vacancies. However, they did not do so.
The agency is in critical need of three investigative agents with peace officer status, van Beverhoudt said. "Without funding these positions, it hampers our work," he told the senators at his budget hearing last July. "We need the ability to serve search warrants. We can't put people's lives in jeopardy. All the investigative arms of the federal government have agents with peace officer status."
So, even without new agents, he is pleased, van Beverhoudt said Thursday. "This will give our investigators the ability to issue search warrants or to have someone arrested without having to go to the Police Department," he said.
Peace officer status carries another big bonus, van Beverhoudt said: It allows his agency access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information System, which he described as an invaluable tool in investigations.
Austin Andrews, V.I. Lottery executive director, was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.
Turnbull also sent the Senate legislation to bring the territory into compliance with federal law relating to age discrimination in hiring and retirement practices.

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