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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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VIPD Commissioner Taps Three for Top-Cop Slots

Dr. Denise Marshall will head the new police Behavioral Services Unit.Dr. Denise Marshall will head the new police Behavioral Services Unit; the position of Police Recruiter has been filled by Shermaine Petersen-Nielsen, and Gaston Tuckett has been tapped as the department’s Housing Community Liaison, the V.I. Police Department announced Monday. All three have been on the job since mid-January, according to the department.
Clinical psychologist Denise Marshall will provide psychiatric evaluations, stress management and crisis counseling. She will debrief employees following critical incidences and coordinate crisis intervention trainings, among other services. Marshall holds a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in forensic science and dual masters’ in psychology and guidance counseling.
“I am excited to have Dr. Marshall on board,” Francis said in a statement. “Her hire marks the first time the VIPD has a full-time psychologist and the creation of the Behavioral Services Unit is a landmark event in the history of this department. Finally, our employees have a private and confidential setting where they can debrief following a critical incident.”
New Police recruiter Shermaine Petersen-Nielsen.Police recruiter Shermaine Petersen-Nielsen holds a master’s in public administration and a bachelor’s in criminal justice. She is a former federal probation officer and employment training officer. Petersen-Nielsen is charged with adding to the ranks of local police recruits and auxiliary officers. She will also mount a campaign to attract experienced law enforcement officers from various parts of the U.S. mainland, revisiting an effort begun last spring.
“Recruiting a qualified police force has been a challenge to the VIPD," Francis said. “With Ms. Petersen-Nielsen on board I am confident the community will soon see an energetic and sustained recruiting campaign that encompasses the entire community and reaches out to qualified persons outside the territory.”
Gaston Tuckett has been Health Department director of security, assistant director of the Police Department’s Narcotics Strike Force and has worked with the V.I. Housing Police. He has extensive local and federal law enforcement training. Gaston Tuckett will work with housing communities toward creating a better living environment for residents.Tuckett will work with housing communities toward creating a better living environment for residents.
“A significant number of our arrests are attributed to individuals growing up in our housing communities,” Francis said. “We want to work to change the environment for these young people and provide them with safe, clean, surroundings to live, while implementing programs offering positive alternatives to negative behavior.”
These new hires will help with the well-being of officers, increased visibility on the streets and greater security for residents, all of which will help the department prevent crime and fulfill its mandate, Francis said.

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