A special unit within the Police Department is being formed to help protect the governor and lieutenant governor — and, according to the governor, the territorys budget. Currently, police officers are assigned to the governor and lieutenant governors security units. But the practice means officers rack up high amounts of overtime pay.
To address the issue, Gov. Charles Turnbull announced Wednesday that he has ordered an executive security unit be formed within the V.I. Police Department.
The unit will protect the chief executive and his second-in-command on a 24-hour basis. Members of the unit will accompany their charges outside the territory and escort visiting dignitaries and officials of the Governors Office. They will also be responsible for transportation, guarding the governor and the lieutenant governors residences and other duties the governor assigns.
According to Turnbull, the unit will be headed by a director who will be designated by the Police commissioner with the governor's approval. A pay scale for the unit will be included in the Police Departments budget every fiscal year and all members will retain their respective ranks and seniority in the units they were in prior to being assigned to the security detail.
Security unit members will be entitled to take promotional examinations administered to their counterparts during their tenure, the governor said.
The V.I. Independent reported Thursday that by creating the new unit as he did, the governor ignored the recommendations of his Economic Recovery Task Force, which recommended that security for the two top officials be removed from the VIPD to save taxpayers more than $140,000 a year.