Unstaffed Coral Bay Police Substation Ineffective

Coral Bay residents are questioning the effectiveness of a V.I. Police Department substation in the area when the office is often left unstaffed.

A Saturday morning, November 5, attack by a streetperson on a resident out for a walk and an armed robbery on Sunday night, November 6, at Island Blues restaurant, both drew no response from the recently-dedicated V.I.P.D. Coral Bay substation because no one was on duty there.

“I called the substation out here right after it happened and no one was there,” said the victim of the street attack in Coral Bay.

“There was no police response,” said one witness after the Island Blues armed robbery. “The substation is located practically across the street and no one was there.”

Recent crime in the Coral Bay area, including at least one violent home invasions, armed robberies, burglaries and a reported kidnappingh and rape, prompted VIPD Commissioner Elton Lewis to make staffing a long-discussed substation in the area a top priority.

Commissioner Promised Police Presence
“There will be a permanent police presence in Coral Bay effective today,” said Commissioner Lewis at the opening of the substation on October 20 at the Coccoloba retail complex.

“The commissioner promised there would be 24-hour police presence in Coral Bay and it seems that he lied,” said a Coral Bay resident.

A Coral Bay substation had been discussed for years and the temporary space was secured after Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC) President Sharon Coldren coordinated communication between VIPD officials and the owners of Coccoloba commercial complex.

CBCC also donated more than $700 of membership dues to ensure the police station had proper signage as well as secured the donation of a fax machine for the new substation.

CBCC Officials Shocked, Frustrated
CBCC officials were now “shocked and frustrated” with the staffing at the substation.

“We were especially shocked and frustrated to note that there was no one manning the substation because we came through with our promise to provide a sign, got someone to donate a fax machine and will do other things to make the Coral Bay police substation a success,” said CBCC’s Coldren. “Everyone agrees that the police have made a commitment to be in Coral Bay and they are not fulfilling that commitment – they need to be here.”

Top VI Officials Blamed
Residents should call on top VI government officials to fix the problem instead of individual police officers, Coldren added.

“We can’t point our fingers at individual police officers, but we need to go to the top; go to the governor; go to the commissioner and find out why no one is out here,” said the president of CBCC.

Coldren recently sent an open letter to Governor Charles W. Turnbull saying the government and the police department “have once again failed the people of Coral Bay, St. John.”

VIPD Commissioner Lewis also stated publicly that residents would receive the same services at the Coral Bay substation as they do at the Leander Jurgen Command.

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

Not All Services Available at Substation
However, residents have learned from experience that not all services are available at the new substation.

At a recent CBCC meeting with VIPD officials a resident complained that she had to go to the Leander Jurgen Command to obtain a copy of a police report that she filed the night before in Coral Bay.

Once the resident arrived at the Cruz Bay police station she was informed that the report she made the previous evening never made it to the main station and she had to file another report.

Numerous VIPD officials did not return repeated St. John Tradewinds phone calls requesting comment on the staffing of the Coral Bay substation and which services are available there.