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St. Thomas St. John Police Chief Speaks with Rotary East Members

October 12, 2012
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St. Thomas/St. John Police Chief Darren Foy and Rina Roebuck, Past President of Rotary EastSt. Thomas/St. John Chief of Police Darren M. Foy told Rotary members that traffic checks are an “effective deterrent” to crime in the Territory at a meeting Thursday evening of Rotary East members. The Chief was the invited guest speaker and gave attendees an overview of the crime prevention strategies he has in place for his district.  

Referring to the criminal element, Chief Foy said some individuals are “walking around with guns and drugs like it’s nobody’s business.” He said the department is combating this with aggressive patrols and traffic stops. “Last week 10 illegal weapons were taken off the streets and with the community’s help we can confiscate more,” the chief said.

Foy began the interaction with Rotary members by summarizing his background and work philosophy. Chief Foy has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Administration; he is a graduate of the FBI Academy, a past supervisor of the Safe Streets Task Force, has been a forensic detective and training instructor and has federal Top Secret Clearance. Foy joined the VIPD in 1992, was promoted to police sergeant in 2007 and appointed as Deputy Police Chief of St. John the same year. In May 2012 Foy was named Chief of the St. Thomas/St. John district. Chief Foy said he approaches policing as a “community service” and works to instill that same dedication in the officers he supervises. “My career is about dedication, education and the goals I have set for myself. Nothing is for free, you have to work for what you want,” the chief said.

Chief Foy told the group his crime prevention strategy puts emphasis on putting a stop to “the little things.” This strategy, he says, prevents small problems from becoming big problems. The traffic check points look for violations of seat belt and cell phone laws. It checks for valid license, registration and insurance. In the course of these checks, officers have identified wanted persons and found drugs and guns “in plain sight”. He said one of the proactive measures, aggressive patrols, carried out by the Special Response Team back in May resulted in the wounding of Officer Aaron Hodge and ultimate death of Officer Colvin Georges. “Colvin died doing what he did best; protecting the community he loved.” Foy said.

On the subject of illegal guns, Foy said they are coming into the island by mail, through the airport and by sea.  He said there needs to be greater cooperation between the various agencies and the VIPD to stem the tide. Foy pointed out that airlines are not required to inform the VIPD if a passenger brings guns into the territory. “This needs to change,” he said, pointing out that the VIPD has met with airline officials to rectify this; however no formal agreement has been reached.

Addressing the visibility of police officers, Chief Foy spoke about the advantage of ATV patrols on the beaches, the bike patrols in town and the introduction of the new Segways which will be used as a patrol aid and to encourage communication between the public and police officers. “Once the community sees an officer on a Segway, a dialogue will follow; this will lead to greater communication and interaction between the police and the public.”

Chief Foy will make presentations to other Rotary and civic groups in the coming weeks. “We cannot effectively prevent or solve crimes without the involvement of the public. These meetings give me a chance to meet the public face to face, dispel rumors, answer your questions and improve police/ community relations.”

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