Press Release Archives: 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011
Police Class Grads Ready to Hit the Streets
July 2, 2009
Courtesy of the Virgin Islands Source. By Source Staff
Come Monday, a new class of police officers will report for duty on St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island.
They graduated Thursday morning at the SSC Leonard B. Francis Readiness Center in St. Thomas.
The police department’s top brass were on hand for the ceremony.
They all emphasized the seriousness of the job the graduates are about to take on, and the importance of using their newly earned power for good.
“This shield indicates to all that you are an officer,” said Acting Police Commissioner Novelle Francis, Jr.
“Don’t ever allow your shield to be tarnished.”
Francis told the graduates to be prepared to work hard but expect little thanks.
He also told them to always depend on their fellow officers.
“These are your fellow officers who will aid you and who you will aid,” he said.
“You join as strangers, you will continue as partners and you will leave as brothers and sisters.”
Police Chief Rodney Querrard told the graduates they must remember to honor their family as they begin the business of protecting and serving.
“Don’t disrespect them by going down that infamous wrong road.”
And Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. told the officers they set the moral standard for the rest of society.
“We are in trying times,” he told those gathered.
“Where we are challenged is by the moral compass of our community.
It is important to set a moral compass that our children and our community can understand.”
Class president Shalia Sheridan pointed out a difference in her class.
Whereas men usually outnumber women three to one, Thursday’s class was made up of nine women and four men.
“A gender shift is occurring,” she said.
Sheridan said that with her class there would be a shift in local policing; she vowed a renewed commitment to service.
“We will look under every rock, around every corner.”
She said they would even extend their vigilance to cyberspace to stop online crime.
After the ceremony, Francis said that he had absolute faith in the men and women who graduated today, but hoped that more young men would be encouraged to join the department.
“I’m not discouraged by the ladies.
What I’ve seen is that they too will work hard,” he said.
“I’m a little discouraged that our men are not stepping up to the plate.”
But Francis said he was encouraged by the next class lined up for the St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island district.
He said that there are about 30 people signed up -- the most the department has seen in some time.
Six police officers, three internal affairs agents, two Superior Court marshals, one Department of Justice agent, one officer for University of Virgin Islands Campus Police and one Litter Enforcement Officer for Waste Management Authority graduated at the ceremony.