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Police Cpl. Bess Dies Suddenly

Jan. 5, 2005 – Veteran Police Officer Cpl. Joseph A. Bess died on Tuesday after a sudden, brief illness. Bess, 50, was a 27-year veteran of the Virgin Islands Police Department.
Throughout his career he was assigned to the Patrol Division at the Wilbur Francis Command the Investigation Bureau and the Traffic Division. Bess was also involved in police labor relations as a past vice president for the Police Benevolent Association.
According to a police press release issued late yesterday, Bess suddenly took ill following his regular work shift on Wednesday, Dec. 29. He was immediately transported by ambulance to the Juan F. Luis Hospital and, after consultation and evaluation, was airlifted to a medical facility in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for further treatment.
Lt. Mary Duggan, Wilber Francis Zone Commander, remembered Bess as a "well respected, conscientious and much loved" officer. Bess served as supervisor for Squad B under Duggan. "He was a good family man," Duggan added.
Territorial Chief Novell Francis called Bess an "unsung hero of the Virgin Islands Police Department" and a "role model to younger officers." In the press release Francis recalled Bess' exemplary service to the public, referring to Bess as a strong leader who was compassionate and "held his convictions with deep trust and emotions."
Francis concluded by thanking Bess for his "guidance and understanding."
The James Memorial Funeral Home is organizing funeral arrangements, time and date to be announced soon. The police department has assigned a senior officer to be the liaison to the Bess family.

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