Citizen in the Spotlight: Josephine Greer

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Police Crime Analyst

Every person has their own definition of success. For some, it is being able to afford their dream home while others are concerned with raising a family or buying a car. Ms. Josephine Greer determined her success by obtaining an education and later raising her two beautiful children. Her journey and her persistence transformed her into the Police Crime Analyst for the Virgin Islands Police Department now working in the Firearms Unit.

Sitting at her office she remembers how she packed her bags, moved to Daytona Beach, Florida and lived there for five years. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Bethune-Cookman College in 1992. After graduation she returned to her birthplace, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Although she anticipated finding work in her chosen career; she soon discovered life sometimes sets you on a path you did not intend to travel. A slight chuckle escaped as she looked out the window, laughing to herself, remembering this crucial point in her life.

“I felt big when I got my degree…when I came down I felt I was guaranteed a job.” Starting out as a Salesperson/Inventory Clerk and transitioning into a Child Support Specialist exemplified her character. As a Child Support Specialist she worked with at-risk-students, helping with GED preparation by developing computer skills and providing on-the-job-training. As a Career Specialist for the Department of Labor, she assisted students at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School with interview skills, resume writing and job shadowing.

For nearly a decade she developed a bond with these youth, and the persistence she instilled in them to thrive in their careers is the same motivation she displays in her professional life. One day an opportunity landed before her prompting her to embark on the next transition in her life. “I saw a position for a Police Crime Analyst for the VIPD. It seemed interesting and I met the qualifications.” Ms. Greer arrived at the department January 2008 and later transferred to the Firearms Bureau to work with Firearms Supervisor Retired Officer Elfreda Robinson on St. Thomas.

Once she came on board she discovered the scope of the work load that lay ahead, and even now, as she begins to explain, she takes a deep breath and laughs it off.

“I have internal as well as external customers.” Internal customers are individuals who work in the VIPD such as Internal Affairs, police officers, or any other person/unit that needs to gather information on suspects. External customers are outside the department; the average civilian who would renew or obtain a new firearm license. As part of her duties, Ms. Greer verifies information for those renewing their firearm license making sure the caliber size, model and serial numbers correspond with their application.

“I go over all the applications, make sure all the documents are present and look for what needs to be renewed or what needs to be done to obtain a firearm license.”

She then fills out the National Crime Investigation Center (NCIC) form which is needed to initiate a background check. “If… the individual has no criminal activity, I prepare the license by entering the necessary information such as the person’s name, address, type of weapon they are registering and purpose for carrying the firearm.” The final step is for Police Commissioner Novelle E. Francis, Jr. to approve the firearm license. Additionally Ms. Greer provides information to law enforcement agencies which can potentially serve as evidence.

The Virgin Islands Police Department is continuously battling crime in the territory and the Firearms Bureau helps in this effort by supplying accurate information to assist law enforcement agencies in developing cases against potential suspects. As a result, most of the information Ms. Greer provides help substantiate the leads officers may have.

“We work with police, marshals, any law enforcement officer…it could even be the Lottery. Sometimes other agencies like the Special Task Force may make an arrest and they would come to our bureau to verify if the person has a firearm license.” The Firearms Bureau would then check the potential suspect(s) in the St. Thomas/St. John/St. Croix District, and in some instances outside of the territory.

To ensure there is a backup in the event something malfunctions or is destroyed, the unit maintains three filing systems by computer, hard copy and a card system.

According to Ms. Greer she has met many of her challenges “head on,” but an ongoing challenge is making sure each individual filing system is constantly updated. Every detail is essential, especially the minor ones.

“Sometimes people weight or address may change” and these are necessary information officers need to locate people, especially if a person must be taken to court.

When asked what she would wish for in relation to her job, she did not hesitate to exclaim, “A brand new computer with all the trimmings! I sometimes have a problem with the computer; if I can’t update or retrieve information it slows me down.” To keep her motivated Ms. Greer says all she needs is a simple pat on her shoulder.

“Well since I have been here for two years I have received a lot of compliments on my customer service and professionalism. When someone comes in and tells me thank you so much Ms. Greer.… I like to be very professional when I am doing anything and give correct information.” She adds these words of advice for anyone pursuing a career as a Police Crime Analyst.

“Make sure you are prepared by obtaining a secondary education, be open-minded to different ideas and be willing to learn different things.”

Ms. Greer is an employee who exemplifies her determination to succeed. Whenever you see her, give her a pat on the shoulder and compliment her on a job well done.
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