Dec. 12, 2003 – At a recent meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, the territory was represented by not only its police commissioner but also its governor and its U.S. attorney.
"It is critical for police commissioners and government officials to focus on a worldly approach to safeguarding the citizens of the Virgin Islands, to continue to share and be a part of an association such as this one," Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said in a release.
The 18th "inter-sessional" meeting of the ACCP took place Dec. 2-4 in Barbados. Its general purpose, Lewis said, was "to review and reaffirm the commitment of police commissioners and government officials to fighting crime, safeguarding visitors, and developing strategies to combat terrorism and drug trafficking in the region."
He said that he and Gov. Charles W. Turnbull were in attendance "to fulfill a commitment made to support the efforts of the ACCP to bring a clear and definitive approach to fighting the criminal element in the Caribbean." And that commitment, he said, stemmed from the territory's dedication "to fighting global crime, drug trafficking, [and] the influx of undocumented persons using the territory's shores as a gateway to the U.S. mainland."
The association seeks to foster collaboration and cooperation for more efficient and effective law enforcement; professional and ethical standards of fairness and integrity; respect for fundamental human rights; recognition of and respect for gender and cultural differences; and continual outreach to obtain the support and consent of the community for policing activities.
And now it "must move in an integrated manner in sharing vital intelligence as a part of defining and establishing common policies and standards on regional policing," Barbados Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin said, according to the release.
Robert S. Mueller III, director of the FBI, was the conference guest speaker. Lewis said Mueller cited investigation of the sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C., area as an example of cooperation between his agency and the ACCP and thanked the association and its members for their assistance.
U.S. Attorney David Nissman, who heads the U.S. Justice Department staff in the Virgin Islands, offered similar thanks for the aid rendered by ACCP members in crime-fighting efforts in the territory.
"Too often, it appears that the Virgin Islands is fighting crime and terrorism alone," Lewis said. "However, with the support of other island nations, we will be able to put a dent in crime in the region."
The shared goal of those attending the meeting "is to develop strategies, common policies and connections in the war against all forms of criminality and terrorism," Lewis said. He added that support and commitment gathered at the meeting "will move the Virgin Islands further ahead with new technologies, partnerships, shared information and strategies for anti-crime initiatives well into the next century."
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