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First, Recognize the Problems

Dear Source:

It is gratifying to see that the Police Department has finally started its long-awaited crackdown on crime in the Virgin Islands. To no ones surprise, they have stated that criminal activity by youth is, to a great extent on the shoulders of parents. They have also stated that many youths simply do not care about the consequences of their actions preferring to be "recognized" in the media and "go out in a blaze of glory". This is so disheartening to realize but it is more and more apparent that our youth are not being served and that it a societal problem. The police and schools cannot be the "save-all" and so it is up to parents to reverse this terrible trend if we ever expect to reduce youth crime which of course, leads to a reduction in crime overall.
The police have also recognized their relationship with the general public and stated that they intend to try to reverse the bad reputation it has by putting more officers on the street and instituting a special task force to clean up crime. This is admirable but the department should also look deeper into its logistical efforts as well, by ensuring that a working 911 system is in place, staffed by trained responders in every area of the Virgin Islands. The police departments are famous for poor customer relations. It seems that everyone who has dealt in any way with the police have found rude, insensitive and uncaring police officers who do not consider that why you are seeking their help is important. There is a huge problem with police not having the facilities, equipment or training to handle even the simplest forensics. The general public knows that the detective bureau is almost laughable and mostly untrained. If the police truly want to change their image, they must not only increase the police on the streets to clean up crime but it has to properly train every police officer in the basics of the job, including sensitivity training, public relations and courtesy if they are ever to reverse their bad reputation. After all, they work for us and we deserve the best.

Paul Devine
St. John

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 source@viaccess.net.

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