Deputy Chief Darren Foy is in charge of the V.I. Police Department’s Leander Jurgen Command on St. John.
“The last commander was relieved and has not been replaced,” Foy told the business meeting.
The St. John command is short on personnel at every level, the St. John Zone Commander admitted.
“I have the least manpower of all the (VIPD) zones,” Foy said.
The St. John command is “severely understaffed,” he acknowledged, encouraging St. John residents to apply to join the VIPD.
“The more St. Johnians we have for officers, the best for St. John,” Foy said.
With the possibility of several of the experienced stateside officers who were recently sworn in to the VIPD being assigned to St. John, the island’s Citizens Integration Team chairperson Helen Simon told Foy she had a list of places for them to rent.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief is working to improve the performance of some members of the department.
“They develop a bunch of attitude and ways of doing their jobs,” Foy admitted of police officers at the St. John command. “I’ve tried to change that.”
“Some have been punished,” Foy said of disciplinary action against officers. “Some have been moved.”
While for the most part the business owners had praise for police officers, there were a few complaints.
“They don’t obey the rules and regulations,” said The Marketplace manager Deborah Marsh, who complained
that police vehicles park in loading zones, no parking zones and other unsafe places. “They don’t do things in a safe fashion.”
One officer “wouldn’t move her car and she caused an accident by parking and ticketed the two other vehicles,” Marsh said.
“People watch people in uniform and they follow their example,” Marsh added. “It’s like they’re not even serious about doing their job,”
Deputy chief Foy agreed and encouraged citizens to record the license plates of police vehicles involved in incidents “and I could deal with them accordingly.”
All police vehicles are now assigned to different squads and two officers are assigned to each vehicle for their two-week shift cycles, Foy explained.
“I was getting heat for having too many (police) cars on St. John.
The accountability helps him determine “who are strong officers and who are slacking off,” the Deputy Chief said.
“That’s the only way you can deal with these officers,” said Foy. “I could probably tell you who they are. They develop bad habits and I’m trying to get them out.”