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Police Commissioner Outlines Proposed Shift Change for Officers

August 29, 2012

Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Henry W. White Jr. elucidated his previous comments before the Virgin Islands Legislature regarding the implimentation of four-day ten-hour shifts for sworn police officers in the territory.  Commissioner White said the move will improve public safety by increasing police presence on VI streets.

The commissioner explained some reasons for the impending change.

"It has been well documented that the police force is being constantly depleted by retirement and attrition as well as temporary reductions due to officers on short or long term sick leave. Increasing officers' shifts will better address the needs of the community at a time when safety concerns are hightened."

White said the change would have police officers working 40 hours in four days with three consecutive days off.  

"This gives officers a longer down time to rest and be with their family." White also clarified that the shift change will include all sworn personell, not just patrol officers, as is being reported in some news media.

White said he will attend a scheduled meeting Thursday with St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix LESU and PBA union representatives to discuss the changes.  "Nothing will be implemented untill I have a chance to sit with the union and dialouge with them. Their input and suggestions will be considered before we move forward, " White said.

White also commented on some perceptions surrounding the officers recently injured in the line of duty. "VIPD officers are fully aware issues with the government insurance and workmans' compensation are systemic to all class-three hazardous duty employees across several government agencies.  Any of these employees, no matter what agency they serve, when faced with debilitating, long term injuries will face the same restrictions." White said the VI Senate acknowledged these system wide shortcomings and recently moved legislation to mitigate these issues for all affected employees.  

"Raymo should realize that these issues are not unique to the VIPD", White said, refering to comments recently made by the St. Thomas/St. John PBA President.

"This is the time to take bold action, we must restore peace to our community," the commissioner said. "At a time when shooters are emboldeded enough to take on police officers, including a police chief, its clear we need more coverage. As police officers, this is what the public expects us to do."

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