U.S. Police Experts Visit St. Lucia for Consultations on Community Policing

Castries, St. Lucia – Recent violent crimes are of grave concern to communities across the eastern Caribbean. Increased gun violence, armed robberies and gang related activity in some island states, are part of increased crime rates. The U.S. Embassy is working with our partners in the Caribbean to respond to local and regional security concerns under President Obama’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

During the week of August 22-26, the U.S. Embassy supported consultations on Community Policing in cooperation with the Royal St. Lucia Police Force. In the consultations, U.S. and St. Lucian police and security experts worked side-by-side to discuss how to implement effective community policing tactics and share best practices from around the world. The speakers from the United States were Robert White, Chief of Police for Louisville, Kentucky, and Public Safety Consultant Robert Olson, former Chief of Police for Minneapolis, Minnesota and Corpus Christi, Texas.

During their week-long visit to St. Lucia, Chiefs White and Olson met with police and prison officials, judges, lawyers, teachers, business leaders, NGO representatives and civil society stakeholders. Consultations were held in Castries, Soufriere and Vieux Fort, and explored the important roles of police and community leaders in ensuring citizen safety.

This consultation on Community Policing is fully funded by the United States Government and is part of America’s continuing engagement with its Caribbean partners through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. This follows a four island community policing seminar and consultation series held in Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada and St. Kitts in October 2010.

As Chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, Chief Robert White oversaw the successful merger of two police agencies. He brings a fresh approach to crime prevention, combining community-police partnerships with decentralization. By downsizing specialty units, Chief White was able to put more officers on the streets, thereby increasing the department’s visibility to the community.

Robert Olson is a long serving former Police Chief and public safety consultant. He is no stranger to the Caribbean, having led a significant community policing initiative in the Grants Pen community of Kingston, Jamaica in 2005-2006 in which he worked directly with the Jamaican Ministry of National Security and the Constabulary Force, political and business leaders to implement USAID’s first community policing initiative in over two decades.

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