Mar. 31, 2004 On Saturday evening, the public will have an opportunity to air concerns, complaints and suggestions regarding the Police Department.
In an effort he said is aimed at strengthening ties between the community and the department, St. Thomas Deputy Police Chief Elvin R. Fahie Sr. will conduct a town meeting on St. Thomas at 7:30 p.m. in the Charlotte Amalie High School auditorium.
"We want to make the public a part of our decision making," Fahie said on Wednesday. "We want to hear their comments and suggestions."
Fahie said he is inviting community leaders, public officials, business owners, students, court officers, private citizens and anyone else with an interest to put in their two cents.
He described the meeting as "an effort to harness some expertise, ideas and community involvement as we strive to build an accountable, professional and respected police force."
With the department having been accused of failures in some media outlets in recent months, Fahie said it is his hope to put a positive face forward. "We are optimistic that though this effort we may find solutions for many of the crime and traffic problems we encounter daily," he said.
Along with Fahie, Assistant Police Commissioner James McCall and Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr. will speak. Fahie said Police Commissioner Elton Lewis will participate if he is on-island.
Fahie's agenda for the meeting includes school violence and security, motor vehicle inspections, V.I. Carnival events and permits, taxi loading and unloading, emergency parking permits and community-oriented policing.
The meeting will be an open forum with the floor open for questions and comments. Fahie said he has invited members of the Legislature and other public officials to be present. He said the meeting is "particularly for those who have ideas to share."
He expressed special concern about school violence. "Our young people are suffering injuries and dying because of violence in our schools," he said. "Those who wish to learn cannot, because fighting and other violent acts disrupt regular class sessions daily. We are almost forced to accept criminal activities as a way of life. The time to act is now."
"Together we win; do join us," Fahie added.
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