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Problems With Police Response Dominate Business Owners Meeting

Jan. 20, 2009 — With frustration in their voices, Coral Bay business owners and residents Tuesday told Police Commissioner James McCall how unresponsive and rude the police have been when it comes to dealing with Coral Bay issues.
In a recent series of incidents, a St. John woman known to have mental-health issues harassed customers at Aqua Bistro, a restaurant at Cocoloba Shopping Center. She has also stolen drinks off tables and smashed plates, said Aqua Bistro owner Marc Kaye.
"The officer told me to pick up a stick and knock her out," Kaye said at a meeting Tuesday of a joint Coral Bay Community Council-St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce meeting held at Shipwreck Landing Restaurant. "The officers said they're tired of trying to deal with her and they didn't want to hear from me anymore."
Kaye called police at least 25 times about the woman, but said police responded only five times.
In addition to the danger posed by the woman, who is often violent, she is causing economic chaos at Aqua Bistro.
"She emptied my restaurant three times," Kaye said.
Others at the meeting mentioned several incidents in which the woman attacked residents and tourists.
The woman's offenses are misdemeanors, McCall said. To deal with the situation, residents need to make a citizen's arrest or get a restraining order, he said.
Iris Kern, a St. John resident who serves as a special adviser to McCall, pointed out that there are currently no facilities to deal with people who behave like this woman. However, she said the department is working on the issue.
Richard Traina said that three times in the past 11 months he was a crime victim, but when he tried to get three pieces of "public information" from the police, the officer refused to comply.
The officer gave him the required information only after Traina — who uses a cane and is on oxygen — threatened to call newspapers and the office of Delegate Donna M. Christensen. He did not elaborate on what that information was, but McCall said he'd call him to discuss it.
Several people at the meeting spoke about rude treatment from the people working at the police station's front desk. McCall acknowledged that it is an issue police have to address, but said the police department would prefer that people call 911 instead. People calling from a cell phone should call 776-9110.
Those calls are recorded, but calls to the Cruz Bay police station are not.
After several people spoke about problems with 911 calls not reaching other emergency departments, McCall said he'd look into it. He said 911 calls for the police do reach his department.
In other police news, McCall said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will conduct activities twice a month on St. John to combat the number of illegal immigrants landing on the island.
Additionally, he said there were some "positive leads" in the Jan. 5 murder of Juan Ayala. He owned Cap's Place bar in Cruz Bay and was murdered at his home in Pastory.
After the meeting, McCall said people not satisfied with the police department's response should call his office at 715-5506.
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Jan. 20, 2009 -- With frustration in their voices, Coral Bay business owners and residents Tuesday told Police Commissioner James McCall how unresponsive and rude the police have been when it comes to dealing with Coral Bay issues.
In a recent series of incidents, a St. John woman known to have mental-health issues harassed customers at Aqua Bistro, a restaurant at Cocoloba Shopping Center. She has also stolen drinks off tables and smashed plates, said Aqua Bistro owner Marc Kaye.
"The officer told me to pick up a stick and knock her out," Kaye said at a meeting Tuesday of a joint Coral Bay Community Council-St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce meeting held at Shipwreck Landing Restaurant. "The officers said they're tired of trying to deal with her and they didn't want to hear from me anymore."
Kaye called police at least 25 times about the woman, but said police responded only five times.
In addition to the danger posed by the woman, who is often violent, she is causing economic chaos at Aqua Bistro.
"She emptied my restaurant three times," Kaye said.
Others at the meeting mentioned several incidents in which the woman attacked residents and tourists.
The woman's offenses are misdemeanors, McCall said. To deal with the situation, residents need to make a citizen's arrest or get a restraining order, he said.
Iris Kern, a St. John resident who serves as a special adviser to McCall, pointed out that there are currently no facilities to deal with people who behave like this woman. However, she said the department is working on the issue.
Richard Traina said that three times in the past 11 months he was a crime victim, but when he tried to get three pieces of "public information" from the police, the officer refused to comply.
The officer gave him the required information only after Traina -- who uses a cane and is on oxygen -- threatened to call newspapers and the office of Delegate Donna M. Christensen. He did not elaborate on what that information was, but McCall said he'd call him to discuss it.
Several people at the meeting spoke about rude treatment from the people working at the police station's front desk. McCall acknowledged that it is an issue police have to address, but said the police department would prefer that people call 911 instead. People calling from a cell phone should call 776-9110.
Those calls are recorded, but calls to the Cruz Bay police station are not.
After several people spoke about problems with 911 calls not reaching other emergency departments, McCall said he'd look into it. He said 911 calls for the police do reach his department.
In other police news, McCall said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will conduct activities twice a month on St. John to combat the number of illegal immigrants landing on the island.
Additionally, he said there were some "positive leads" in the Jan. 5 murder of Juan Ayala. He owned Cap's Place bar in Cruz Bay and was murdered at his home in Pastory.
After the meeting, McCall said people not satisfied with the police department's response should call his office at 715-5506.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.