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St. Croix Police Department Promotes 29 of Its Own

Oct. 19, 2006 — "Wow, we're finally here," said Territorial Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr. during a police promotion ceremony held Wednesday afternoon at Government House in St. Croix. Francis was standing in front of 29 newly promoted VIPD officers on a day almost 10 years in the making and not without controversy.
"We have not seen a promotion of this magnitude in 10 years," Francis said.
For newly promoted Lt. Ruby Urgent, who had been waiting for a promotion for 12 years, the day was bittersweet. "My dad was a police sergeant and he died six years ago," she said. "It would have been nice to have him here."
The chief promised to be available to all the newly promoted officers, adding that mentoring is also now a part of their newfound duties. "Mentorship allows for accountability across the board," he said.
He encouraged the three new captains, 10 lieutenants, and 16 sergeants not to hesitate to make the tough decisions. "I will back you," he said. "Be firm in your decisions but be fair."
Newly promoted Sgt. Deborah Hodge, who received a "Yeah Mommy" from her two-year-old son when she was called to receive her new badge, said she was "proud." The promoted officers were to be immediately assigned to their new duties after the ceremony.
Hodge said she looked forward to the challenge. "My dreams are going to be put into effect," she said. "All the things I thought could have been changed will be changed under my supervision."
The day had a small cloud over it because of ongoing controversy between the police unions and officials. Commissioner Elton Lewis addressed the audience and said he had a heavy heart concerning the battle concerning the promotion of unclassified officers within the department. Executive security officers serving in an unclassified capacity have been ineligible for promotion because of their unclassified status. See "Benefits Controversy Pits Police Unions Against Officials").
Lewis spoke about the division in the department. "We always seem here in the Virgin Islands to breed contempt," Lewis said. Lewis said some people in the department need to change their attitude of: "If I can't have it, no one can."
In his remarks during the ceremony, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said the department needs to be unified to properly serve the community. "Be protective of each other," he said. Turnbull said he regrets the police department is not unified and said it was something "we should fix."
Sen. Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion, chairman of the committee on Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice, said the day was one of great pride for the promoted officers. Encarnacion spoke of the police's role in the community. "The most fundamental responsibility of any government is to provide safety." Encarnacion said residents must aid police by being verbal about criminal activity in their area. "Fighting crime is everyone's responsibility," he said.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards, Sen. Ronald Russell, Delegate Donna Christensen and Innovative Communication Corp. Senior Vice President Samuel Ebbesen, who gave the keynote address.
Here is the list of St. Croix V.I. Police Department promotions:
Capt. Glenn Awong
Capt. Mary Duggan
Capt. David Magras
Lt. Kenneth Edwards
Lt. Glenroy Gittens
Lt. Thomas Hannah
Lt. Arthur Hector Sr.
Lt. Clyde Newton
Lt. Leslie Pemberton
Lt. Benjamin Rios
Lt. Ruby Urgent
Lt. Dennis Vanterpool
Lt. Richard Waugh
Sgt. Mark Carneiro
Sgt. Sidney Elskoe
Sgt. George Felix Jr.
Sgt. Kenneth Gittens
Sgt. Cecil Gumbs
Sgt. Lesley Hatchett
Sgt. Deborah Hodge
Sgt. Christopher Howell
Sgt. Dennis James
Sgt. Naomi Joseph
Sgt. Robert Matthews
Sgt. Petra Olsen
Sgt. Freddy Ortiz
Sgt. Joseph Platt
Sgt. Isaac Porter
Sgt. Emanuel Turner Jr.
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