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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Police Remembered as Family and Friends

Police officers, family members and civilians form a prayer circle during a candlelight vigil commemorating fallen police officers Tuesday on the Ann E. Abramson pier.Law enforcement officials, family members and civilians gathered at a pair of events on St. Croix Tuesday to commemorate the lives of fallen police officers.

Tuesday morning Chief of Police Christopher Howell and Police Commissioner Henry W. White led a ceremony at the Patrick Sweeney Headquarters to honor the six officers who have died on St. Croix in the line of duty.

Remembered patrolmen included Leopold E. Fredericks, Patrick E. Sweeney and Wilbur H. Francis, and Police officers Dexter L. Mardenborough, Cuthbert E. Chapman and Akeem B. Newton.A single wreath was thrown into the water during a candlelight vigil commemorating fallen police officers.

Wreaths were laid at a monument honoring fallen officers accompanied by a 21-gun salute.

Howell told the assembled crowd that he was proud to be celebrating his 20th year in the V.I. Police Department, but said his feelings were tempered by sadness.

“My memories are marred by the understanding that not all my teammates were lucky enough to celebrate this same milestone with me. I say this not to set a sorrow tone here this morning but rather to place the career of a police officer in perspective,” Howell said. “If you are officer long enough, you will eventually be affected by loss. This is a given.”

He later addressed the surviving family members of those officers being honored and said, “I want you to know that you are forever part of the Virgin Islands Police Departments family.”

Later in the day, a smaller group assembled at the Ann E. Abramson pier for a candlelight vigil to recognize all officers who have passed on, not just those who fell in the line of duty.

Commissioner White reminded the crowd that being a police officer is not a job, but a way of life. He said that the decision to join the Police Department affects not just your life, but also those of the people around you.

“It probably impacts more here in the Virgin Islands than anywhere I’ve been,” he said, adding that in such a small community many people on the island have a friend or family member serving in the VIPD.

Police Commissioner Henry W. White delivers a speech at the candlelight vigil commemorating fallen police officers Tuesday.“When you’re in law enforcement here, to say that you’re an integral part of the community…it’s almost not necessary to say. Because it’s a fact.”

White encouraged the officers present to remember this and always treat each other and people in the community as members of their extended family.

After his speech, White threw a single wreath into the water while a VIPD patrol boat roared past the pier.

The day’s events were part of a series of celebrations in honor of National Police Week. Other events planned for the week include an open houses of the Frederiksted police station on Wednesday and one of the Christiansted station Thursday. To learn more, visit the VIPD Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usvipd.

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