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Comments Given on Lewis' Address at Chamber Luncheon

Dear Source:

My name is Ronald Davis and I live in Hampton, Virginia. I was born and raised in St. Croix, in the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands.
On March 17, 2006, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis addressed the St. Thomas – St. John Chamber of Commerce. Lewis, who was the speaker had three wishes: we would like to have more and better experienced police officers, a state-of-the-art crime lab, and a top notch training academy. Nothing is wrong with dreaming but will it change anything? I seriously doubt it! When it comes to territory, crime is out of control. And guess what, the problem is getting worse. Somebody needs to wake up and smell the coffee! The U.S. Virgin Island is becoming a place no one wants to visit. This is all taking place as police dreams. Who is running the show?
In a recent trip to St. Croix, I was shocked to see how the island was in such disarray. Robbers roaming the streets, prostitutes and drug addicts hanging around "Times Square" yelling at people as they went by. Downtown after dark gave me a scare. Bands of young men looking for trouble and scaring the tourists. The commissioner stated that a crime lab would enable the department to obtain fast accurate results when processing evidence. I agree with his assertion. Any crime lab would help but are the crimes being investigated? He said, "I know we did have 43 homicides in the territory last year, and that most of them are unsolved." Somebody pinch me and wake me up. One unsolved murder is too many. And to think, 43 murders in a year, with most of them unsolved is totally unacceptable. If we sit around and wait for citizens to solve the crimes, the territory will sink deeper into depression. Somebody has to take charge. All of the wishes and gadgets are not going to solve the problems. Police are responsible for investigating and solving crime. Partnerships with businesses and citizens are a must for the Virgin Islands Police Department to be successful.
Lewis said that "the problem of unsolved homicides are not "indigenous" to the Virgin Island, but is a problem plaguing police departments in other parts of the Caribbean and the United States mainland." His statement has merits, but what he fails to recognize is that other departments and agencies makes every attempt to solve them through investigative steps. Not relying solely on community involvement. The police department has developed a slogan "It appears to be retaliatory in nature." This seems to support police non-effort to solve murders, while they conveniently wait for the citizens to solve them? This too is unacceptable.
The Commissioner also talked about the need for more manpower. What is he with the ones now? When I was in St. Croix, I saw one police car patrolling down Company Street. Where were the others? Oh! That's right, I saw several of them washing police cars at a substation in Basin Triangle. One of the biggest problems seems to be deployment and management of resources. This will really help the problem. Another thing that will help, is working with citizens and other governmental agencies to make a difference. There is strength in numbers.
Finally, the department is looking at bringing back sector, or community policing, where officers will be assigned to patrol specific geographic areas, and be responsible for what happens in that area. This is a good idea but it someone still has to manage it and control it? And for it to succeed, it must be supported and embraced by everyone. It is easy to put out information. The implementation and execution is the hard part.
Ronald Davis
Hampton, Va.

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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