By Andrew Dick
PHILIPSBURG–The Police Force of St. Maarten has nominated Inspector Felix Richards for the Top Caribbean Community Policing Officer category in a regional policing award programme.
Amalgamated Security Services Limited (ASSL) in conjunction with the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) initiated the ASSL/ACCP Regional Recognition Awards Programme. Police Chief Carl John and management decided to nominate the St. Maarten officer because of the outstanding work he has been doing as a Community Police Officer (CPO).
Richards joined the Police Force as a cadet in 1990 and since then has proven to be an arduous, professional, proactive, result-driven officer. This drive and focus have allowed him to move swiftly up the ranks, first as a Brigadier, then a Major and now as an Inspector and an Acting Prosecutor.
He has been serving as a CPO since 2012 for some of the largest districts on the island. His professionalism, respect and credibility have earned him the respect not only of his peers, but also of residents in the community, the youth in particular, for whom he is a shining example.
Richards has been very instrumental with his “out-of-the-box thinking” in helping to bridge the communication gap between the police and the community through many of the projects he has executed in his capacity as a CPO.
They are: Establishing of policy against illegal egg-throwing during Halloween celebration in October; coordinating of “Stop, Drop and Go,” a campaign to turn in illegal firearms without fear of prosecution; “Anti-Bullying” Campaign in secondary schools; establishing a Whatsapp chat room for community members in several districts as a strategy to combat crime in those districts; coordinating of “Student Identification Cards” for students attending secondary schools; and a project to alleviate the traffic situation in school districts during school hours.
The Police Force management said in their motivation to the organisation, “We, the management of the Korps Politie Sint Maarten, believe that Inspector Richards is an asset to our organisation and community. His loyalty and commitment to his country and the Police Force are unquestionable and as such it is with great pride that we recommend him for this award.”
This awards programme recognises annually a total of three outstanding police officers from ACCP member countries, one officer in each of three categories: Top Caribbean Community Policing Officer, Top Caribbean Crime Fighter and Top Caribbean Career Move.
One officer in each category will be recognised at the ACCP Annual General Meeting and Conference. Each will be awarded US $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to the conference to receive the award, which includes a trophy in addition to the $5,000. The first and second runners-up in each category will be awarded commendatory plaques to be received by the respective Commissioner(s) of Police on their behalf.
These awards are intended to recognise officers who, by their efforts, have contributed significantly to crime reduction, enhancing community relations with law enforcement, and improving general safety and security, and have made an overall difference in their Police Force, communities and by extension nationally and regionally.
Top Caribbean Crime Fighter:
To ensure a fair chance for officers from smaller forces versus officers from larger forces, the Top Caribbean Crime Fighter will not only be selected by the number of crimes detected by the nominated officers. The ratio between cases assigned to any officer and detected cases by these officers may also be considered. Furthermore, the impact that the case(s) detected by an officer (including resulting convictions) had on general safety and security within the respective community (and by extension country and region) will be a main criterion for the judges on the awards programme’s panel.
Top Caribbean Community Policing Officer: The activities for which a police officer is nominated must have been conceived, developed, supported and/or led by the officer nominated for the award and will be judged regarding their success rate, effectiveness, problem-orientation and innovation. The improvement of relationships with the community and persons within the community also will be judged.
A list of community-based initiatives in which the officer is involved or that he has introduced within the two-year time frame that the judges will be considering must be produced. Recommendations also can be made by members of the community, including private sector, but still must be endorsed by the immediate supervisor, recommended by the area commander and approved by the Commissioner of Police.
Caribbean Career Move: The nomination must be in relation to an individual’s professional development within a two-year period preceding the nomination for the award. The nominee’s professional development (e.g. tertiary education, trainings and overall performance improvement) must have resulted in a noticeable improvement of overall operations within the respective police force and by extension in improved safety and security in police force and communities. Individuals must have the rank of Inspector or higher to be eligible for nomination.
Each nominee will be judged based on knowledge of job, ethics, professionalism and communication skills. All nominations must be received by the last day of February of each year and will be judged by a panel of distinguished judges. Winners will be announced in April of each year and will be awarded at the ACCP Annual General Meeting and Conference of that same year.
The announcement has not yet been made by the organisation to date.
Source: Daily Herald Richards nominated for Caribbean CPO award