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Police Reserve Conference Comes Along at Right Time for VIPD

Jan. 24, 2008 — An international reserve police conference began this week on St. Croix, and the timing could not have been better. It coincided with the V.I. Police Department's re-establishment of an auxiliary unit.
The conference running through Saturday at Divi Carina Beach Resort will allow officers to network and train with experts on reserve police units.
"I'm really excited about augmenting the force and bringing back the auxiliary unit," said V.I. Police Commissioner James McCall. "There are 30 guardsmen who have already decided to join the unit," he added.
McCall said during disasters, it is crucial to have mobilization of large police forces.
"We are the first responders," McCall said. "We must be able to provide for the expected and unexpected."
Brig. Gen. Renaldo Rivera, adjutant general of the V.I. National Guard and advisor to the governor for homeland security, echoed McCall. Rivera has worked with the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of hurricanes and other emergencies.
"We must have experts in survival who are tested by hurricanes," Rivera said. "Reserves, volunteers and police retirees can add and bring valuable methods and experience to a force."
Moderator of the opening ceremonies was Doug Jones, director of training for VIPD and a FBI retiree. Jones will be heading up the auxiliary training for the VIPD in ongoing evening classes that begin Feb. 11. Jones said the curriculum would be extensive, with 180 to 260 hours instruction on constitutional law, use of force, traffic patrol, firearms and more.
"There are strict standards that we must adhere to in training recruits," Jones said.
McCall said the auxiliary officers would be in paid positions working a minimum of 20 hours a month with a maximum of 34 hours a week. "This is a position where an officer may work elsewhere too," McCall said in an interview.
There will be background checks as with any officer. Those recruited will be between the ages of 21 to 55.
Presentations were made following lunch. Brooke Webster, president of the Reserve Police Officers Association (RPOA), presented McCall with two checks for the families of a recently deceased officer and an injured officer.
The officers were in a head-on collision on Jan. 20. The deceased officer, Akeem Newton, a 13-year veteran police officer, was married to another officer, Esther McCloud-Newton. Rookie police officer Wayne Jeffers, 38, suffered a dislocated hip, chest and head injuries in the crash.
Michael Foreman, senior vice president of Point Blank Solutions, one of the sponsors of the conference, presented McCall with four bulletproof vests valued at $2,000. McCall said officers on the force each have their own body armor, but in the Virgin Islands the vests deteriorate quickly and he appreciated the donation. Point Blank Solutions are specialists and retailers of body armor.
The remainder of the conference will include road and marine ride-alongs, and firearms and explosives demonstrations courtesy of the VIPD.
The conference is being attended by law enforcement personnel from Puerto Rico, Anguilla, Canada, Florida, Bermuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, New York and other jurisdictions. Also attending the opening ceremony were numerous retired VIPD employees.
"It is nice to see people working together at conferences such as this," said Violet O. Damidaux , a retiree from the VIPD. "Now we need to work together as a community to solve crime."
The conference was sponsored by the VIPD, Cruzan Rum and the V.I. Department of Tourism.
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