Home Commentary Open forum V.I. HOUSING POLICE DILEMA



Dear Source:
It is happening all over again; our local government has failed to make provision for assuming the responsibility of a program that was federally sponsored. As I understand it the local government agreed initially to assume the responsibility for funding the V.I. Housing Police after the period of federal funding had expired. I believe this arrangement is similar to the one made with the School Security Division of the V.I. Police Department.
The School Security program is presently a division of the VIPD. It was originally a federally funded program; now it is a division of the VIPD. The federal government has helped the local government in many police programs by providing initial funding for a definite period of time with the understanding that the local government will phase in funding for the program. Unfortunately our politicians have failed to fulfill the commitments made to the federal government to assume the responsibility for funding certain important programs. It is up to us as responsible citizens to demand that our representatives in government fulfill all commitments made with the federal government to undertake funding of programs that have become a part of our government services.
I believe the most reasonable solution to the V.I. Housing Police is to incorporate the unit as a whole into the VIPD as the Housing Police Division of the V.I. Police Department.
That would ensure continuity and preserve the integrity of the program. I believe it will also be a positive morale booster for the officers. I believe we should be concerned about the morale of our public servants. The V.I. Police Department has a morale problem that is affecting its productivity, its efficiency.
The V.I. Police Department needs all the help it can receive. By increasing the number of officers without addressing the root causes of the crisis, it is to compound the problem of that agency of the government. We need to address the causes of the low morale problem of the VIPD. Has anyone done a survey of the rank and file of the VIPD to find out what the problems are and possible solutions? Has the Government Operations Committee of the V.I. Legislature investigated causes of the problems being experienced by the VIPD? Has the press made any investigation of the problems faced by the officers of the VIPD?
I trust the governor will pay attention to the problems of the VIPD and have some investigation done to develop solutions. In the democracy such as we practice, it is important that all citizens assume their responsibility and become involved in the government. Voting is not enough; we need to attend public hearings, participate in forums, and voice our opinions on issues of our concern. Be responsible citizens, be involved, join with others with similar concerns, and let your voices be heard.
J.J. Estemac
St. Thomas

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