News of the death of George A. Farrelly shocked the territory Tuesday.
Farrelly, the commissioner of Police during the Gov. Juan Luis administration, Tuesday morning of a heart attack. He was 59.
News of Farrellys death triggered a flood of condolences from his former colleagues and current politicians.
"George Farrelly was a dedicated public servant with a very strong commitment to public safety," said Gov. Charles Turnbull.
Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II said he was shocked when he heard of his close friend and relatives death. Farrelly, who owned GAF Security and Consultant Services, also served on the GERS board of directors.
"George was an individual totally dedicated to the Virgin Islands community, especially on the island of St. Croix," James said. "His presence will most certainly be missed in the political as well as social arena."
Attorney Julio Brady, who served as lieutenant governor under Luis, recalled working with Farrelly, who was then a police detective while Brady was a federal prosecutor, during the Fountain Valley murder trial in the early 1970s.
"Georges familiarity with the people of St. Croix and his uncanny ability to positively interact with fellow police officers, victims and witnesses proved to be an invaluable asset to (former Police Commissioner) Milton Branch and myself as we tried this complex and extraordinary case," Brady said.
As lieutenant governor, Brady recommended that Farrelly be named police commissioner. During his tenure, Brady said, Farrelly established a networking system that connected the V.I. Police Department with every major metropolitan police force in the nation. Brady also said that he and Farrelly conducted an annual conference in the territory that attracted criminal justice experts from around the country.
Brady noted that while Farrelly was commissioner, numerous neighborhood crime watch groups were established as well as other aspects of community policing. All were made effective by Farrellys open-door policy, he said.
"Apart from our official relationship, George and I enjoyed a close friendship and camaraderie," Brady said.
Sen. Gregory Bennerson, who is on leave from his position as a police lieutenant, said he too was shocked to hear of Farrellys death.
"The Virgin Islands has lost a true warrior and hero in keeping the community protected," he said.
Farrelly, the nephew of former Gov. Alexander Farrelly, is survived by his parents, Vangie and Stanley, his wife Vickie, their children and his sister Pat.