KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – There are opportunities in the Police Force for young, intelligent Vincentians — including university graduates — and existing members of the constabulary Commissioner of Police Keith Miller said last week.
Miller, in an appearance on a radio talk show, outlined some of the ways in which the constabulary has been transformed over the past decade or so.
He mentioned former high school teacher Avianne Smith, 25, who, in December, joined the Force as a sergeant.
Smith, who is attached to the Criminal Investigations Department, graduated from the University of the West Indies with a first class honours degree in psychology with linguistics.
In October 2010, forensic psychologist Kamecia Blake, 24 at the time, became the nation’s youngest assistant superintendent of police (ASP) ever, when she joined the Force at that rank.
Miller said last week that up to a few years ago, Vincentian cops were joining the police service in Anguilla, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos while some even went to work on cruise ships.
“But we have the reverse, where persons from these Forces they want to come back,” he said.
Miller also said that the recently completed salary reclassification by the government is contributing factor.
“… our Police Force has been transformed tremendously,” he said, adding that Customs officers are also applying to become cops.
“And I think it is because of the fact that we have become so attractive. I think it is our policy, our accelerated promotion policy at the graduate level, coupled with good salary, proper working conditions, lots of benefits,” he said.
He noted that after 10 years, cops are entitled to a gratuity. Further, officers under the rank of assistant superintendent of police who have served for 20 years can retired with all benefits intact.
Children of police officers who contributed to the scholarship fund can apply for scholarship even if their parents have already retired from the constabulary.
The Police Force has a group insurance policy at a local insurance company and is in the process of contracting with a regional air ambulance service.
“When our members take sick, we do not want to be feeling around. We want to take up the telephone and call … and say we need movement,” Miller said.
And with the international airport scheduled to become operational in 2014, the local Fire Service is trying to recruit physics and chemistry graduates from the Community “to have the Fire Service turn around,” Miller said.
He further stated that the leadership of the Community College to implement a system for further training of police officers at the institution while 21 cops are pursuing undergraduate degrees financed by an EC$1 million loan to the Force.
“So, the Police Force is not what it was even 10 years ago. We have made a complete or almost complete turnaround,” the top cop said.
“So this is why we will not encourage persons who do not have that ambition, who do don’t have that work attitude to really discourage persons who want to come in or discourage persons who are serving and want to move forward,” Miller said.