FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames said provisions have been made for the addition of 30 new officers for Grand Bahama during this fiscal period.
“It is our hope that those individuals, once identified, will commence training sometime during the end of next month,” he added. “This is consistent with our manpower audit and our Government’s efforts to address the severe manpower shortage within the constable ranks of the police force.”
The Minister’s remarks came during the Royal Bahamas Police Force Annual Church Service and Parade, which was held at Calvary Temple Assemblies of God on Sunday, January 13, 2019.
The service was well-attended by rank and file members of the armed forces, including police, defence force, immigration, customs and prison officers.
In giving the keynote address Minister Dames told law enforcement officers and others in attendance that in addition to the new officers expected to be added to the ranks, the police force is looking forward to the opening of the new ultra-modern 14,000 square-foot police station in Eight Mile Rock, which is scheduled to open at the end of this quarter.
He continued: “The Cabinet allocated $5.9 million dollars for a new police fleet, of which you would have already received nearly 30 new police vehicles and motorcycles in 2018. In the first quarter of this year the island is expected to receive more new vehicles and motorcycles which will increase officers’ visibility and improve response times to the residents of Grand Bahama.”
The National Security Minister noted that in a world of technological advances, his government is fully committed to modernizing the Royal Bahamas Police Force to ensure that it keeps pace and remains on the cutting edge of policing in this 21st century.
As a result, he pointed out that within the first quarter of this year drone technology will be a reality in The Bahamas and Grand Bahama, and the Northern Bahamas will figure prominently in use of this equipment.
“The program will be a multi-law enforcement agency initiative,” added Minister Dames. “This new crime-fighting strategy is just one of the new operational exercises designed to keep Grand Bahama, by extension the entire Bahamas, safer.
“Some of the other technologies that will be introduced this fiscal period include shot spotter (gunshot detection technology), CCTV expansion, and bodycams. Our official contract signing for shot spotter is scheduled for next week. As a matter of note, Grand Bahama can expect to see all of these technologies in strategic areas on this island during 2019. That is a promise that your government is expected to deliver on!”
Minister Dames told law enforcement officers that the government understands that in the dynamic and constantly changing field of law enforcement, training and education are essential.
What’s more, he noted that the Bahamian police force is filled with many talented officers who have the capacity to, one day, lead the organization and that succession planning is a key component of any progressive organization.
Towards this end, Minister Dames said that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed shortly with the University of The Bahamas and the Ministry of National Security, in partnership with City University of New York/John Jay College of Criminal Justice, one of the top schools for criminal justice in the United States.
“The MOU will facilitate two professional certification programs inclusive of Law Enforcement Management and Law Enforcement Leadership,” added Minister Dames. “This new Management and Leadership Program is geared towards mid-level and senior law enforcement officers across the country.
“Specific courses of study will include Management, Finance and Budgeting, and Human Resources. The goal is that over the next three to five years, each law enforcement agency will have a cadre of competent officers from which a new generation of leaders can be selected.
“Officers we are now moving into an era of merit-based promotion. This is exciting because what it means, therefore, is that every officer in uniform regardless of rank — if he or she remains true to their calling and driven to be the best that they can be, they can achieve almost anything they put their minds to including, becoming Commissioner of Police, Commodore of the Defence force or Commissioner of Corrections. You no longer have to concern yourself with being the boss’s ‘boy or girl’, the primary requirement will be service to country.”
This story was contributed by Andrew Coakley – Bahamas Information Services