At a time when the territory is reeling from a rash of senseless killings and other violent crimes, not to mention run-of-the-mill home burglaries and petty crimes, how can there be any question about maintaining the V.I. Housing Police in one form or another?
The Housing Authority announced this week that it was eliminating its police force because it no longer had enough money to pay for this seemingly essential service.
It seems obvious that the powers-that-be have two choices: find money to maintain the Housing Authority force or absorb those officers into the V.I. Police Department.
For as long as we can remember the V.I. Police Department has been understaffed. It desperately needs more trained, experienced officers. So why, when crime is out of control and we have a few dozen trained, experienced officers who could be assimilated into the regular force, aren’t we figuring out a way to do that?
The Turnbull administration and the Legislature have had no problem in recent months finding money to fund sweetheart contracts and to buy themselves fancy sport utility vehicles. Surely they can find enough money to pay the salaries of a few dozen police officers.
If these officers are allowed to go home and collect unemployment, the community should rise up in loud protest.
A lot is at stake here. The lifeblood of this territory is tourism. Until and unless we solve our crime problem, we risk seeing an exodus by tourists, cruise lines and even investors. And what about the impact of violent crime on all of us who live here? Tourism aside, Virgin Islanders deserve to live in safety – and they must demand that everything possible be done to make that happen, including utilizing the skills of the Housing Police officers.
Hiding our problems doesn't work any more. It's time to take some real steps toward solving them.
Gov. Turnbull and the Legislature need to rethink their priorities. This is deadly serious business.

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