Home Commentary Open forum Addressing Our Problems

Addressing Our Problems


Dear Source:
It is unfortunately that we have representatives who have difficulty thinking outside of the box. We have many solvable problems but those charged with addressing them have been failing miserably. Presently we have a public safety problem with the high incidences of violent crimes that are unsolved in the community and the VI Police Department appears impotent to stem the tide of violent crimes and other crimes that are evident all over the community. Law enforcement is at its lowest in my memory, in this territory. With some analysis, our representatives in government, both in the executive and legislative branches could come up with some reasonable solutions to the problems plaguing our community.
Considering our population of just about 56,000 thousand inhabitants per district. When we consider the population in the territory of 56,000 persons per district, including in that number are senior citizens and juveniles that make up about 50% of that number. Then about 25% are adults who may be working in the private sector and 15% employed by the government. That leaves about 10% that may be available for employment in either the private or public sectors. Of that 10%, maybe only 5% may be interested in working for the government. Of that 5%, only 2% may be qualified to become peace officers for the local government. The last 3% may be engaged in the underground economy. These figures are based on my calculation, which rely on my personal observations.
Therefore, the VI government has difficulty finding qualified individuals to employ as law enforcement agents. The reality is that most local males in the last five percent of the population have some impediment to qualify for a law enforcement job. Considering the local labor market, if we accept the figures I am using herein, we have to be creative with the available persons in the labor pool. To be a full police officer or some other peace officer job citizenship is a requirement. However, there may be many who would otherwise qualify except for their citizenship status. The non-citizens could be allowed to enter service as an Auxiliary Police and transition to be police officers when their status is changed and they obtain their citizenship.
We could also consider using volunteer police officers as well as volunteer firefighters to supplement the regular force. We would be accessing as many available residents to serve the public need. We can also use private security guards to help patrol certain areas that the regular police have difficulty covering on a regular basis; I have seen them used in New York and in Chicago. I believe we have to exhaust all our locally available resources before importing from out of this jurisdiction. In the process, we may well save money I believe we could consider using some of our retired officers who are able bodied to assist with the supervision of officers on a contract basis. This would be a transitional measure while we are developing qualified supervisors in the VIPD.
One of the problems pointed out by many is the lack of proper supervision currently on the force; this transitional measure would help correct the lack of proper supervision by using experienced supervisors. The recommendations made herein could apply to other departments and agencies of the government, the use of contract workers; keeping in mind our census report and the labor statistics of our community. We have to do the best with available human resources. I do hope our Senators would exercise some creativity and courage and make prudent decisions to address our serious personnel problem. We hope the executive branch would cooperate with the efforts of correcting the ills that afflict our government and our community at large.
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 [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here