87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSanes: Some Officers Don't Deserve to Wear the Uniform

Sanes: Some Officers Don't Deserve to Wear the Uniform

March 18. 2009 — Some officers of the V.I. Police Department "don't deserve to wear the uniform," and the force needs more support and training, Sen. Sammuel Sanes said Wednesday.
Sanes spoke Wednesday night at a public forum on law enforcement and crime he organized at Charlie's Chickenshack restaurant. The restaurant on St. Croix's east end was packed with about three dozen residents, who applauded the senator's comments and voiced their own frustrations with crime and the police.
A second forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Fritz Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room in Frederiksted. Sanes scheduled the meetings to precede hearings of the Committee on Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice, which will take place next Monday and Tuesday in Frederiksted at times to be announced.
Sanes praised the "many dedicated and professional police officers" in the territory, but said even the best do not get adequate training. He also decried a lack of psychological evaluations for officers, which is standard at many police departments, and said a few officers are part of the old-boy network in which who a person knows is sometimes more important in the legal system than what a person does.
"I don't put too much faith in the police right now," Sanes said, to applause from the audience.
He's looking forward to the opening of the new 911 call center under construction in Estate La Reine, but said it still needs support in the Legislature.
Sanes also said the government would do well to open the center with a clean slate of all-new 911 dispatchers. People who have been on the job for years tend to resist change and think of the job as "theirs," he said.
"We need individuals who are willing to learn," he said. "We need dedicated individuals."
Sanes even suggested it might be best to privatize the 911 service to get greater accountability.
Gatherings such as the one held Wednesday are helpful, Sanes said, in that when the hearings open next week, he'll have more than his own issues to discuss with law enforcement and Homeland Security officials. He'll have the opinions and complaints of constituents. But their job isn't over just because they showed up at a meeting and vented, he told residents.
"I want you to pick up your phones and start putting pressure on those senators" Sanes said. "Request more funds for law enforcement, call them, harass them. We can't just stand in the background and take. We have to work."
In other comments during the hour and a half session, Sanes:
— Called for extension of Transportation Security Administration services, including x-ray machines, at seaplane terminals;
— Said, "If you use a gun during a crime, you should face the maximum penalty. It doesn't matter if you're the son of a senator or the son of a police officer;"
— Called for higher salaries for assistant attorneys general in the Justice Department to retain young lawyers who typically work just a couple of years for experience, then move "to the dark side" — the private attorneys representing criminals;
— When asked whether it was legal for children to ride in the bed of a pickup, said, "If it's not a law, it will be," and made a note for his legislative assistant to look into the matter; and
— Expressed support for a police substation on the east side of the island, even if it has to be housed at first in a temporary building.
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.

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.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
March 18. 2009 -- Some officers of the V.I. Police Department "don't deserve to wear the uniform," and the force needs more support and training, Sen. Sammuel Sanes said Wednesday.
Sanes spoke Wednesday night at a public forum on law enforcement and crime he organized at Charlie's Chickenshack restaurant. The restaurant on St. Croix's east end was packed with about three dozen residents, who applauded the senator's comments and voiced their own frustrations with crime and the police.
A second forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Fritz Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room in Frederiksted. Sanes scheduled the meetings to precede hearings of the Committee on Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice, which will take place next Monday and Tuesday in Frederiksted at times to be announced.
Sanes praised the "many dedicated and professional police officers" in the territory, but said even the best do not get adequate training. He also decried a lack of psychological evaluations for officers, which is standard at many police departments, and said a few officers are part of the old-boy network in which who a person knows is sometimes more important in the legal system than what a person does.
"I don't put too much faith in the police right now," Sanes said, to applause from the audience.
He's looking forward to the opening of the new 911 call center under construction in Estate La Reine, but said it still needs support in the Legislature.
Sanes also said the government would do well to open the center with a clean slate of all-new 911 dispatchers. People who have been on the job for years tend to resist change and think of the job as "theirs," he said.
"We need individuals who are willing to learn," he said. "We need dedicated individuals."
Sanes even suggested it might be best to privatize the 911 service to get greater accountability.
Gatherings such as the one held Wednesday are helpful, Sanes said, in that when the hearings open next week, he'll have more than his own issues to discuss with law enforcement and Homeland Security officials. He'll have the opinions and complaints of constituents. But their job isn't over just because they showed up at a meeting and vented, he told residents.
"I want you to pick up your phones and start putting pressure on those senators" Sanes said. "Request more funds for law enforcement, call them, harass them. We can't just stand in the background and take. We have to work."
In other comments during the hour and a half session, Sanes:
-- Called for extension of Transportation Security Administration services, including x-ray machines, at seaplane terminals;
-- Said, "If you use a gun during a crime, you should face the maximum penalty. It doesn't matter if you're the son of a senator or the son of a police officer;"
-- Called for higher salaries for assistant attorneys general in the Justice Department to retain young lawyers who typically work just a couple of years for experience, then move "to the dark side" -- the private attorneys representing criminals;
-- When asked whether it was legal for children to ride in the bed of a pickup, said, "If it's not a law, it will be," and made a note for his legislative assistant to look into the matter; and
-- Expressed support for a police substation on the east side of the island, even if it has to be housed at first in a temporary building.
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.