May 15, 2005 – Heads were bowed Sunday morning at Nisky Moravian Church as the congregation remembered police officers who have given their lives serving the Virgin Islands.
"Sometimes freedom becomes a license for excess. Freedom is not a license. Rather, freedom is the ability to do what is right," said Rev. Errol Conner, pastor of Nisky Moravian Church. "Freedom is not cheap. They risk their lives and are sometimes put to death in the line of duty. Freedom is never free."
The memorial service was in observance of Police Week. Both active and retired officers attended.
"We truly want to commend them for their labors among us," said Conner.
After the service the officers went to Western Cemetery to place flowers, candles and pictures on the deceased officers' graves.
"It's important for us to show gratitude for those who have served and to not forget their sacrifice," said Deputy Chief Elvin Fahie Sr.
"The job is a serious one and not to be taken for granted," said Captain Vancito E. Gumbs Sr., of the Retired Police Organization. "It's a job when you leave home you're not sure if you're coming back. It can happen to any one of us at any time."
Officers recognized who were killed in the line of duty were Steven Alexis Hodge, who died March 27, 1994; Carolyn I. Dowling, killed in office March 5, 1996; Randy Arnaldo Stephens, killed Feb. 16, 1998; and Richard N. Callwood, killed Dec. 29, 1980.
Stephens was fatally shot by Officer Dennis Vanterpool, who was off duty at the time. Later, former Attorney General Iver Stridiron cleared Vanterpool of any wrongdoing, saying he "conducted himself in a prudent manner, given the emergency situation," Stridiron wrote in a 13-page decision that the policeman acted in a manner "consistent with his duty to protect the lives of the people of the Virgin Islands and his own life. In doing so, he mistook Marshal Stephens [for] a person committing a serious felony, the apparent shooting at another person." (See "POLICEMAN CLEARED IN SHOOTING OF MARSHAL").
Hodge was killed in a hail of automatic gunfire after being called out of his parents' Lindbergh Bay home shortly after getting off work. Spent casings from at least four automatic weapons were recovered at the scene.
In the months that followed his death, speculation had run high that Hodge intercepted information about illegal drug activity involving local law enforcement officers and that he was expected to provide prosecutors with the information.
No police officers were ever charged but six men were named as his assailants, including Gent Mosby, Elroy Harris, William Vanterpool, Carlos Fleming and Maurice Richardson. The sixth man, Fulbert Mooving, fled to St. Kitts days before his arrest.(See "FBI IMPLICATES TYSON IN MURDER OF STEVEN HODGE").
Retired officers who have died since 1990 were remembered. They are Lt. Jens Hodge, Officer Harold Lynch, Commander Jens Hendricks, Sgt. Monroe Steele, Lt. George Rogers, Cpl. Oliver Scatliffe, Sgt. Dalton Blyden, Cpl. Prutus Canton, Cpl. Gladys Bastion, Officer Oswin Abraham, Officer Charles White, Cpl. Lyra Blyden-Venterpool, Sgt. Mavis E. David, Capt. Raymond Fredersicks, Officer Romeo Michkel Rivera, Lisa Anne Smith, dispatcher; Clarence Guishard, motor vehicle inspector; Aux. Officer Joseph Norford, Lt. Edward Clifton Joseph, Capt. Raymond Chesterfield, Cyril Christian "Sandy" Harrigan, chief communications officer;Officer Malcol Callender Sr., Officer Veronica Aska Henry, Juliette Alicia Todman Leonard, school crossing guard; Officer Duane Norford, Patrolman Claude Maloon, George Alexander Benjamin, Glendora Marshall, records clerk; Maria LaMotta, administrator; Hilarine Williams, school crossing guard; Deputy Commander Tyrone Davis, Joy Maynard, school crossing guard; Cpl. Elvin David and Pearl Christian, personnel officer.
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