July 14, 2001 – The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State Judiciary and Related Agencies has voted to recommend up to $1.5 million to the V.I. Police Department to buy high-tech crime-fighting equipment.
The subcommittee action builds on the $1.2 million "earmarked" appropriation approved by Congress last year to enhance the territory's crime-fighting capability, said Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, who announced the action. Thus the territory is looking at full federal funding for its $2.7 million request for Police Department technology upgrades.
The appropriation will be used to:
Install laptop computers, video camera/recorders and fingerprinting devices in patrol cars.
Equip traffic and criminal investigatory units with hand-held palm computers, giving police officers access to the same information provided by the laptop computers in patrol cars.
Acquire teleconference equipment and computer switches as part of efforts to enhance electronic data communication necessary for quicker, more efficient dissemination of critical information beween each island in the territory.
Implement an Automated Fingerprint Identification System ("AFIS") to identify and apprehend criminals throughout the territory.
The federal funding will also provide technical support for the 95 new police officers who will be added to the local force over the next three years under the federal program; 30 new officers were hired last September as part of this effort.
Gov. Turnbull thanked Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, for including the Virgin Islands as one of only 96 jurisdictions in the country to be recommended for the grant. He also commended V.I. Delegate Donna Christian Christensen for her "strong and persuasive lobbying efforts" with members of the House subcommittee.