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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, January 29, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesAn Inspector General for Law Enforcement

An Inspector General for Law Enforcement

Dear Source:
We have been observing the steady deterioration of law enforcement in our community. Many residents have been expressing dismay at the climate of lawlessness and the lack of enforcement in so many areas. In spite of the fact that the government has more peace officers, law enforcement agencies than ever before. I remember in 1971 when I began working in the VI government as a Police Officer there were very few peace officers other than the police and the marshals. Today the marshals are under the courts system and several executive departments have their own law enforcement agents with peace officer status.
The Department of Finance, Department of Health, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Department of Licensing and Consumers Affairs and the Port Authority all have their own enforcement agents. Even the correctional officers have been given peace officers status. We have more peace officers and less enforcement. Is that satisfactory to you?
To address this anomaly, I am suggesting that an office of Inspector General for Law Enforcement be created. A qualified and experienced person would be selected, whose mission would be to inspect and report on the status of law enforcement in the various law enforcement agencies and on the performance of peace officers of the government. There would be offices in both districts. This office would report its finding to the Governor for corrective actions. The office I believe could be created by Executive Order or by the Legislature. The Inspector would patrol the communities in both districts and observe the level of law enforcement by all law enforcement agents of the government. The Inspector General for Law Enforcement would be familiar with the applicable laws and the statutory mission of each agency charged with law enforcement. The Inspector General would have one assistant in each district. The office could be housed, for logistical purpose, with the Department of Justice or the Law Enforcement Board if one is established.
I believe if the de Jongh/Francis administration would adopt this concept of a law enforcement inspector general to monitor law enforcement by the various agencies; this would reassure the public that the administration is serious about law enforcement. This innovative step would go along way in improving the climate of law enforcement in the Virgin Islands. I remember the present administration while on the campaign trail expressed its intention to be open to new ideas and new players; this is a welcome attitude and gives us much hope of a true change in direction and in how our government could operate for the benefit of all residents. We must remember that the government belongs to the people and the Governor is only the head of one of the three branches of our government, the executive branch. The success of the de Jongh/Francis administration would be our success and if it fails, it would be our failure as well. We are supposed to support the administration carry out the policies that are intended to improve the quality of life for a majority of the population. We are to evaluate the policies of the administration a give our studied advice and recommendations for corrections and/or improvement.
As citizens of these Virgin Islands, we are to remain engaged with our government that is our right and responsibility. We must remain vigilante and protect our Governor from the negative forces that we know exist in our community. There will always be disgruntled individuals who when they fail to achieve special treatment from the administration turns against it. They become obstructionists, making all kinds of negative criticisms and false rumors. We must remain alert and vigilant to protect our government from the vultures, who we know will attack.
May Allah-God give us all wisdom and courage to do what is right for our beloved Virgin Islands.
J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas, V.I.

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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