83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesOur Police Department Needs Reorganization

Our Police Department Needs Reorganization

Dear Source:
Our police department is going through some very trying times in terms of public confidence and efficiency in the delivery of service. We need to sit down and review the department as it relates to the rest of our government. What it is that allows the department to continue to deteriorate, is it the only department of the Executive Branch that is in crisis? Are there common causes for the perceived and real deficiencies of our government? Where do we look for solutions or how do we arrive at solutions to the problems that face our government?
I believe if we do some introspection, individually and collectively, we would arrive at similar conclusions. The principal underlying problem of the department is the low morale, caused by deficient leadership. There is deficient leadership due to appointments based on political expediency instead of the record of accomplishment of the candidates or their qualifications including experience. Therefore, if we are going to remedy the situation in the Police Department we need to do some revamping. Some people in and out of the department have suggested that the department is beyond repair; they pessimistically suggest that the only remedy would be to disband the department.
However, I still entertain some hope that the conditions that now plague the police department can be corrected. I believe we can reduce the deficiencies of the police department to an acceptable level.
We need to address the low morale and its causes. As was noted previously the principal cause of the low morale in the department was the poor leadership and poor or no supervision of officers. The appointment of unqualified persons to position of leadership based on political expediency is a chronic deficiency in our government. It is important that we revamp the organizational structure of the department. By establishing a career incentive program, all positions except that of the Commissioner of Police would be classified. All positions and ranks shall be earned by competitive evaluation based on training, performance record and a review board. The ranks of Chief, Deputy Chief shall be hard ranks gained by a good performance record, academic achievement and board interview. We should be providing career incentives, such as competitive promotion based on academic and performance record, where the personnel would have the expectation of being able to move up through the ranks. By reducing political interference in the professional development of the personnel and ensuring some continuity in the administration of the department.
To supplement the regular police we should reinstitute a reorganized Police Auxiliary Corp with the required legal status and training. To promote law enforcement as a career we should reinstitute the cadet program in our schools, similar to the ROTC, starting from the elementary school. We should also make allowance for Volunteer Police to supplement the Police Auxiliary Corp. It is my position that the proposed "Civilian Review Board" can be very useful as an overseer of all law enforcement agencies, all Peace officers in the territory. The Board main function could be: That of advocacy for the Police Dept. and other law enforcement agencies and that of overseeing all disciplinary actions against law enforcement agents in the territory and making recommendations to the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
We as a community must decide what type of society we are and should be: A community governs by just laws, which are enforced consistently and fairly. A community that believes in and practice law and order. An ethical community subscribing to universal moral tenets. As a predominantly Christian society, do we subscribe to the Christian teachings and practices? Or are we a lawless society, an immoral or amoral society? To which do we subscribe? If we believe we deserve a better society, a better government, we should then work for it, it does not come by wishing it, we have to work for it, we have to develop a better society, all of us working together can make a difference. Are you willing and able to join in the efforts to improve our community, our society? Are you a part of the solutions or part of the problems? Decide what is your role in this community, in this life and fulfill it.
J.J. Estemac
St. Thomas

Editor's 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.