Felix Richards delivers on his promise – Community police officer hits the ground running

POSTED: 08/20/12 1:16 PM

St. Maarten – Community Police Officer (CPO) for the St. Peters, South Reward, Weymouth Hill and Ebenezer districts Felix Richards delivered on a promise he made to St. Peters residents two days after they raised concerns about a dysfunctional utility pole within the vicinity of Pineapple Road entrance.
During a town hall meeting in the community on Wednesday, Richards assured the residents that he would look into the matter and made good on his word on Friday by bringing it to the attention of utility company Gebe.
The electricity with a street lamp on top was covered completely by an overgrown tree. The foliage was so dense it cast an even more eerie shadow at the dark junction. And with no light above, the residents said the situation was further compounded because a pipeline below had been damaged and leaked gallons of water daily.
“Being responsible for the area, I promised them that I would have this taken care of this week and I did just that. I got Gebe to come and deal with the pipe and we found out that it would be a bigger job than what we expected.”
A backhoe had to be called in to unearth the underground pipeline. The Fire Department also assisted in trimming the tree on Friday afternoon.
Richards said that he is also in discussions with the utility company to ascertain how many street lights are actually functional. Identifying the faulty lamps and remedying the situation would contribute to the safety and security of the area.
The whole purpose of initiatives like the one that Richards took is to restore the public’s confidence in the police.
“Everyone has been keenly looking at our performance, they are monitoring and asking questions and it is going to take some time but we will get there,” Richards said.
An initiative of Justice Minister Roland Duncan, 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.
For now, Richards numbers among the five officers that successfully underwent a rigorous training program locally and at the Miami Dade School of Justice in Florida, graduating on July 20 as full-fledged C.P.Os.
“We are using a more social approach in terms of getting the residents and other stakeholders involved in tackling several issues in their community. We are trying to empower the residents to take back ownership of their areas,” Richards explained.
He also plans to spread more awareness in the area on how to remain safe and secure, how to prepare for and survive natural disasters as well the laws of the land.
“They need to see that things are happening because we won’t go and make promises that we can’t keep,” he stated.

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Comments (1)

 

  1. Scott from New Jersey says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. I met Felix Richards some time ago when my wife and I were on vacation. He came across as a community leader driven to make St. Maarten a safer place. It was an honor to meet him then and I’m proud to read about his stellar community service today. Way to go Felix!

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