First community police officers graduate tomorrow

POSTED: 07/19/12 11:54 AM


St. Maarten – The first batch of community police officers are nearing the completion of their training course at the Miami Dade School of Justice in Florida. They will graduate on Friday, July 20 at 3:00 p.m.
The grouping, which was set up under the leadership of Commissioner Carl John, numbers five and upon returning to St. Maarten they will be placed in districts throughout the island. The old Martin Luther King School at the top of Mount Willem Hill and a portion of the Royal Islander in Maho are two of the locations that are being set up as offices. However the program will not fully come on stream until October 1. Since the launch of the program in April, the officers Felix Richards, Michelangelo Sirvania, Ethelwoldus Josepha, Helen Cristina-Romeo and Juan Statie had already increased their presence in various communities. They left the island on July15.
“I am very proud to go to Miami on Friday and witness the graduation of our first batch of community police,” Minister of Justice Roland Duncan said on Tuesday.
Duncan will be accompanied by other high-ranking police officials at the inaugural event.
The school’s north campus website have already started publicizing Duncan’s visit which is expected to include “formal discussions to explore expanded areas of collaboration, with specific emphasis on delivering specialized training to multiple branches of the St. Maarten government.”
“Our college remains committed to extending our international reach to responsively address the education and training needs of global partners such as St. Maarten and its Ministry of Justice. MDC and its north campus are well-poised to answer such calls and deliver accordingly,” President of the College Dr. Jose A. Vicente said.
“This marks our ministry of justice’s first significant step toward bringing community policing to the fore on the island of St. Maarten. We are most grateful to the North Campus for enabling us to accomplish our training goals, and we’re anticipating a long and fruitful partnership with Dr. Hector Garcia (MDC’s Director, School of Justice) and the college,” the school quoted Duncan as saying.
The community policing program was implemented to place the police much closer to various districts, improve police relations with the public and reduce response time to incident reports. Their presence will be felt predominantly in 10 districts. Another five officers have already been selected to undergo the community policing certification course offered by the Miami Dade School of Justice. The institution has been training and educating public safety professionals domestically and internationally for the past 41 years. More than 80 percent of all public safety professionals in Miami-Dade County have been trained at the School of Justice. The school offers associates degrees in criminal justice, a Bachelor in Applied Science degree in public safety management with ten specialized tracks, college credit certificates in homeland security and crime scene technology, basic law enforcement, corrections and firefighter certifications, private security certifications and specialized executive leadership training and assessment services. The St. Maarten officers were trained locally by the school’s director Hector Garcia before leaving to take up internship positions at the Miami Dade Police Department.
The community policing program will greatly aid in the decentralization of police services in lieu of the construction of two police substations in Belvedere and on L.B. Scott Road.
In a press release issued yesterday, the Ministry of Justice said that “community policing is an organizational wide philosophy and management approach that promotes community government and police partners; proactive problem solving, community engagement to address the causes of crime, fear of crime and other community issues. The purpose of Community Oriented Policing is to empower the neighborhood to make it safer.”

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