Police Department hands out awards
Published: February 9, 2013
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ST. CROIX - The V.I. Police Department on Friday acknowledged members of its ranks and two civilians from the St. Croix District for outstanding performances to the department and the community.
Those honored included officers cited for exceptional service and morale boosting and those earning the combat cross. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames and Emergency Room physician Dr. Carmine Williams-Hendricks also were honored as civilians.
The honorees were commended for acts of bravery they displayed in exchanges of gunfire, apprehending dangerous suspects, investigating homicides that resulted in arrests and convictions and ridding the streets of countless firearms.
Sgt. Anthony Hector received acknowledgement for responding to two separate robberies while he was off duty and apprehended the suspected perpetrator. Those robberies occurred last year on June 22 in Mars Hill and July 27 in Calquohoun.
Hector also was recognized for executing dozens of search and arrest warrants on serious criminals and as the officer who apprehended the four men accused of carrying out a day-time robbery of a Christiansted jewelry store last summer.
Detective Leon Cruz was recognized for being the lead investigator on countless robbery and firearms cases that police believe all were related to one loosely organized crime ring involving about a dozen people.
Acting Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr. said he was grateful for the opportunity to attend the ceremony and to stand before those in attendance as the acting commissioner.
Querrard thanked the honorees for the work they have been doing and encouraged them to keep the pace.
"Many in our community do not realize the significance of what you do as you risk your lives on the streets every day," he said. "It is our family and friends and fellow officers who know the battles."
He encouraged supervisors to be quick and ready to give commendations to their officers whenever they do well.
"We are sometimes so quick to put pen to paper when our officers commit an infraction against the rules or policies, but we should be just as quick to put pen to paper to commend them when they perform to that higher standard," Querrard said.
The acting commissioner said his goal is to continue to move the department forward with a unified mission between the islands.
"What is done on St. Thomas affects St. Croix, and what is done on St. Croix affects St. Thomas," he said "We are all up against the same difficulty and fighting the same war."
Querrard said he is inspired that Acting St. Croix Police Chief James Parris had the vision and saw the need to honor those who have done well. Querrard said he will push to have a similar recognition ceremony in the St. Thomas-St. John District in the near future.
"We have had a very difficult year with many of our officers coming under fire," Querrard said. "The criminal element is very present, but we are remaining strong."
Parris said all of the honorees should be commended for their dedication to their job and that the civilians supporting them also should be given accolades.
Williams-Hendricks was recognized for being an important part of police operations by dedicating countless hours of her time to being poised in the event of an emergency.
"Whenever we go on an operation that we suspect will be risky or poses a higher possibility of someone coming under fire, we have her with us, and she has been consistent and puts in her own time for the safety of the officers," Parris said.
The chief said Rames has taken a leadership role in being the voice and face of the department and has done an exceptional job.
"I am really not a very vocal person, but Melody has taken those tasks and has picked up the ball and run with it," Parris said.
- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.