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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesCrime in Our Virgin Islands, 2005

Crime in Our Virgin Islands, 2005

Dear Source:
The cry of every unqualified manager is "I need more equipment, more manpower and more money." Zero base budgeting attempted to cure some of the ills surrounding that kind of response by demanding: justify what you have as a base then budget for the future. Approximately 200 new police vehicles with only 400 police officers means two person for each vehicle, not counting the holdover vehicles. Eighty thousand miles does not a neighborhood patrol or response make.
Our police department too often has depended on conditions of policing outside of our venue of understanding in setting their goals. Our cultural and criminal experiences have never been parallel, thank someone, with any other community, mainland or otherwise. Ergo, why function as if we are? Neighborhood Watch Programs were developed to have the neighbor connect with another neighbor by exchanging phone numbers, being watchful of who is in and out of the neighborhood, calling the police immediately when something suspicious is apparent and calling the neighbor to see if the neighbor is in trouble or to warn of coming trouble.
Community Oriented Policing or COP was not an effort to find funding for outreach substations and crime prevention programs, not even for swat teams or bicycle patrols. Those are evolutionary responses in order to fund and find funds to increase ones imagined authority. Its purpose was to have police say yes sir and no sir. Community Oriented Policing started as purely a retard for racial practices of police departments. If you can be polite, respectful and concerned about crime in white communities one can apply the courteous, professional and committed procedures to African American communities and earn respect and support. Citizens' Police Review Boards were created not because citizens apparently had no control over bad police work but because the managers of police departments did not take responsibility for bad police work. In the criminal areas, the grand juries thought they too must protect the "blue line" guided by an errant prosecutor.
A grand jury, absent in our Virgin Islands, must be in place and fail before citizens turn to a Citizens' Police Review Board. Grand juries consist of 26 citizens chosen at random from the voters list, 23 comprising a quorum with 12 or 16 able to return what is called a True Bill or Indictment. The court certifies the indictment or not when the grand jury presents it before the court. The prosecutor is present at grand jury proceedings purely to guide them in and as to law. He is not the chairperson, the leader or the decision maker to control any of their investigations. The grand jury is able to investigate any perceived problem in its jurisdiction and to indict anyone, including the very prosecutor.
If the grand jury, of the various questionable jurisdictions, had performed in accordance with the laws of their community there would have never been any need for Citizens' Police Review Boards as the accused criminal police or otherwise would have been indicted. Last about the Citizens' Police Review Board is that it probably costs as little to operate as the proposed grand jury that meets probably six (6) times a year, staying in session as long as need be. These programs are presently skewed today in an effort to remove the incompetence of policing to blame incompetence of communities and citizens of neighborhoods. Community and neighborhood people do not enforce the law and earn disrespect from their colleague citizens. The citizens' lack of involvement only earns them disrespect with the police, prosecutors and courts; and, sometimes to the detriment of their fellow citizens as a criminal perception of citizen's fear.
Citizens and neighbors do not encourage police brutality, mistreatment and disrespect for citizens, criminal or suspects. People do not shoot citizens in the back, be discourteous to citizens, talk down to humans and disrespect the uniform and responsibilities of their authority.
In our Virgin Islands the honest citizens chosen from the voters lists to serve on our regular juries, criminal and civil, are able to make quite honorable decisions relative to their functions and responsibility. Why not trust those same selected-types to originate our local Virgin Islands Grand Jury. Let it fail us first before we turn to a semi-vigilante approach of a Citizens' Police Review Board.
Krim Ballentine
St. Thomas
Editors note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net

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