Temporary Substation Adds to Permanent Coral Bay Police Presence

It was a ceremonious day in Coral Bay when the temporary police substation was unveiled, Thursday, October 20. (L to R): St. John Administrator Julien Harley, CBCC president Sharon Coldren, VIPD Commissioner Elton Lewis, co-owner of Coccoloba Genoveva Rodriguez, VIPD Assistant Commissioner James McCall, VIPD Territorial Chief Novelle Francis and VIPD Deputy Chief Angelo A. Hill.

After years of uncountable community requests for police presence on the eastern end of the island, V.I. Police Department officials from across the territory gathered to proudly unveil the new temporary Coral Bay substation at the Coccoloba retail complex on Thursday afternoon, October 20.

“There will be a permanent police presence in Coral Bay effective today,” said VIPD Commissioner Elton Lewis. “On behalf of the V.I. Police Department, we are proud to present what the citizens of St. John and Coral Bay have been requesting for quite some time.”

Not only will there be a permanent police presence, but citizens will be able to receive the same services as the Leander Jurgen Command in Cruz Bay provides, according to the police commissioner.

“The very same service citizens can get at Leander Jurgen Command, you can get here,” said Lewis.

“This has been the request of the people here on St. John and in Coral Bay, and we are here to show we listen to the community,” said Lewis, reminding every one that the Coccoloba location is only temporary until a permanent substation is erected.

Bidding Process Starts
On Monday, October 24, the bidding process for the permanent substation which will be constructed adjacent to the fire station in Coral Bay will begin, according to the VIPD commissioner.

“The property has already been identified and cleared, and once the contractor is selected, we will begin erecting the substation,” said Lewis.

The VIPD has a one year lease at the complex, but Commissioner Lewis said officers will remain at the temporary location until the permanent substation is complete, which he said he hopes is within months.

“I think this is a special thing for Coral Bay and we are working diligently on the real thing,” agreed Administrator Harley, who also expressed his excitement about the opening of the temporary substation.

The opening of the substation will bring the community and the police department closer together, according to the St. John Administrator.

“The people need to get their trust back in the police, and by seeing you all here today, I think it will be a piece of cake,” said Harley, looking at the VIPD officials.

“This has been a long time coming and it’s nice its finally here,” said Harley. “For me, this is the success of a lot of people who came together to make it happen – the community deserves to be applauded.”

The idea of expediting Coral Bay police presence came about when Sharon Coldren, president of the Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC), suggested the Coccoloba location and coordinated communication between VIPD Deputy Chief Angelo Hill and owners of the retail complex, according to Administrator Harley.

CBCC also contributed more than $700 of membership dues to ensure the police officers had proper signage at the new substation.

“We want this substation to be an example that the Virgin Islands can be proud of,” said a smiling Coldren. “We really look forward to getting to know our police officers out here.”

The CBCC president also requested that police officers meet with the community frequently to discuss making the new substation more effective in policing and crime prevention for Coral Bay.

“This brief ceremony is truly a community and a police partnership,” said VIPD’s territorial chief, Novelle Francis. “Now that we have a substation in Coral Bay it will transcend in officers being able to respond to calls much sooner – today is indeed a very good day for the police.”

The VIPD Commissioner extended gratitude to V.I. Governor Charles W. Turnbull for his steadfast commitment to the substation effort; St. John Administrator Julien Harley for his continuous support of the VIPD; Genoveva Rodriguez, co-owner of Coccoloba complex, for leasing the VIPD the space in an expeditious manner and V.I. Water and Power Authority for installing extra lights in the building.

Lewis also announced VIPD Deputy chief Hill and Lt. Edmund Thompson are the two individuals who will be held responsible for any action or inaction that takes place on St. John.

The new phone number for the Coral Bay substation, located downstairs to the left of the Coccoloba complex, is 774-1111.