24-hour curfew presents ‘greatest test’ for officers – says assoc.

24-hour curfew presents ‘greatest test’ for officers – says assoc.
Police Staff Association Chairman Sonny Miller

Miller says officers are prepared to “dig deep” to protect nation

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The emergency measures and 24-hour ‘shelter in place’ orders present the “greatest test for police officers” to date, according to Police Staff Association (PSA) Chairman Sergeant Sonny Miller.

However, Miller noted organization is being assisted by the other law enforcement agencies on the frontline, including the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

He told Eyewitness News police officers are up for the challenge and prepared to “dig deep” to protect the safety of the populous in The Bahamas.

“I can safely say this is in fact the greatest test, but I can also safely say that under this commissioner of police; he was able to do and continues to do his duties administratively and able to pull resources — I don’t know how they are able to do it — but I must commend them on it,” he said.

“But I can safely say the officers are still working eight-hour [shifts] and now we are moving forward, and along with the Police Staff Association, bringing meals to the officers while they are working these eight-hour shifts.:

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a 24-hour curfew, border shutdown, and a ‘shelter in place’ order, among additional measures that expand emergency powers regulations introduced last week to prevent the local spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Miller said officers know the country is depending on them to endure during “these tireless nights”.

He said officers remain on eight-hour shifts for the time being.

“I don’t know how he has been able to get it to work, but kudos to him,” Miller said.

“Everything seems to be moving smoothly.

“We know we are going above and beyond, and we don’t complain.

“We know there are rewards at the end of the day, although we are not working for them.

“We also know there is light at the end of the tunnel and as long as we our countrymen — our brothers and sisters safe, and our families safe — we will be safe at the end of the day.”

Last week, Attorney General Carl Bethel told Eyewitness News said Parliament will debate whether or not to extend emergency orders, which he called an “urgent” necessity, for another 30 days.

When asked what the extension signaled to officers, Miller said police, defence force and prison officers, as well as healthcare workers, are all on the frontlines “battling this threat” of local spread.

He said that requires all stakeholders to push the envelope.

“Even though one or two of us may be tired, we have to dig down low and pull out the extra energy because at the end of the day it is beneficial to all of us,” Miller said.

“I listened to the honorable attorney general last evening and he this may extend for 30 days. Listen, superheroes, who I consider the front-liners — those loyal police officers and our brothers from the defense force and prison officers — we are doing what is necessary.

“We dig down low into a bag that sometimes has nothing in it and pull energy out to keep going, so we anticipate maybe, three or four months of this. But, like I said we are going to keep doing it and we don’t complain. We are going to keep our brothers and sisters safe.”

Contingencies

Miller said no officer has required testing for COVID-19 to date, but that may change.

Asked if officers were being provided alternative accommodations to limit risk of spread to their families given their public engagement on the frontlines, Miller said the commissioner has considered the matter, and an officer who is concerned will be accommodated.

“I had the opportunity last night to do patrols with the chief superintendent and take meals out to the members working,” the chairman said.

“These officers are just amazing. There is a protocol in place for any officer who needs to be quarantined or tested.

“The commissioner has that in his policies as well.”

During an address last week, the prime minister announced the immediate reinstatement of all available officers, including those on vacation or retired.