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In an effort to better prepare new officers for the task of policing, the Virgin Islands Police Department has teamed up with the International Association of Chiefs of Police for a training session to begin on Monday at the National Guard facility on St. Croix. According to V.I.P.D. Commissioner Delroy Richards, officers from St. Thomas and St. John will travel to St. Croix and will stay at the National Guard complex. Training will begin on August 6.
Trainers from the International Association of Chiefs of Police will lead the effort and will be joined by the trainers at the Virgin Islands Police Academy. “For some time now we’ve been engaged in discussions with off island trainers especially from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, who should be in the territory in the coming weeks,” the commissioner said.
“During the next six months we’re going to be doing intensive training of this class. This class is one of our largest classes that we’re going to be launching, and this process will also allow trainers to train the senior officers in specialized areas in the V.I.P.D.,” Governor Kenneth Mapp said of the upcoming training during a Monday press conference where he announced base pay and minimum wage increases for government employees in the executive branch.
The class will be deemed 18-2; class 18-1 is already being trained in both districts, Mr. Richards said. He said there are about 25 peace officer candidates in class 18-1 and 23 in class 18-2. The commissioner said the recruits are called peace officers until they complete their training process.
The off island trainers will provide training to the recruits, V.I.P.D. senior staff and supervisors, along with performing a complete assessment of training needs territory-wide, Mr. Richards made known. Following their mission here, the trainers will travel back to the mainland to be replaced by other trainers, he said.
“The idea is to provide a police department that’s second to none in the nation. And I think the training capabilities of our folks in the territory also falls in that category,” Mr. Richards said.
The commissioner said background checks, pre-screening, physical agility exams, psychology exams, among other performance tests are being conducted on about 50 additional police recruit candidates who will form the 18-3 class. “The idea is to have as much police officers back on the streets as possible, and we intend to convene 18-3 as soon as the numbers are ready,” the commissioner concluded.
The announcement comes as violent crime has escalated in the territory, with multiple homicides occurring in June and July after relative calm in the earlier months of the year.
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