The V.I. Police Department’s internal affairs bureau will investigate misbehavior by all V.I. law enforcement, from Waste Management to Environmental Enforcement, not just the VIPD, if legislation being considered by the Senate becomes law.
The Committee on Homeland Security, Public Safety and Justice held that bill and three other public safety related bills for amendments, after getting testimony from law enforcement and Justice Department officials on areas of concern in the bills.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Clifford Graham, would expand the existing internal affairs unit to give it responsibility for the investigation of all incidents involving all government personnel authorized to possess and carry firearms. Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Corrections and police officials testified in support of the bill’s aims.
BOC Acting Director Dwayne Benjamin urged senators to amend the bill so that agency heads have the discretion to request this independent review.
Graham said right now different V.I. law enforcement agencies have different firearms policies, different reporting policies and so on and the goal of the legislation is "a unified set of policies and enforcement."
The committee also heard testimony on a bill defining assault weapons and denying probation, parole and suspended sentences to those charged with weapons crimes. And bills creating new penalties for street gang related crimes and to put striping in major road intersections to mark where it is forbidden to be when the light is red.
All bills were held in committee without objection.