Jason Archibald is a life-long resident on the island of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He “lost everything” to a category five hurricane, but he still manages to earn a profitable income post-disaster by working in a local barbershop that’s being powered by generators. But he admits the storm has brought out the worst in some people.
“Of course on the island, there’s looting going on, there’s stealing — people’s generators are being robbed at night,” he said. Bad news for an island with a majority that is still without power.
But Archibald is grateful for the doubled presence of law enforcement by the Virgin Islands Police Department and National Guard MPs.
“I see flashing lights all day and all night – they’re working hard to keep (businesses and homeowners) safe,” Archibald said. “I’m not hearing about anybody being killed or any fatal shootings — so they’re doing their jobs, man.”
Archibald is referencing members of the 252nd Military Police Company, Tennessee National Guard, who conduct patrols within the Estate La Reine to East End Zone area of the island of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. National Guard members are working with the Virgin Islands Police Department on both vehicle and foot patrols.
“For the most part we’re just looking for crimes of opportunity,” said 1Lt. Dana Shears. “Everyone is kind of in this together trying to come out stronger on the other end.”
But MPs workload also includes a range of emergencies and new investigations.
“Some of our military police officers have went on a few different calls such as domestic violence calls, shots fired and some traffic accidents,” added Sgt. 1st Class Leigh Ann Hester, another member of the Tennessee National Guard.
Traffic control and curfew enforcement is also a part of National Guard duties enforced according to Gov. Kenneth Mapp to “minimize, the delay in cleanup efforts, and ensure the timely distribution of critically needed supplies.” Only essential personnel are allowed on the roadways between specific hours of the day. Violators can and will face consequences.
“We can detain, but we can’t arrest. We’re here to assist the Virgin Islands Police Force. So, violators can be arrested but it’s on a case by-case basis,” said Sgt. Andrew Kinney, a member of the New York National Guard.
Meanwhile a few miles away at the Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport, which began offering commercial flights Oct. 5, Air National Guard security forces (SF) personnel provide antiterrorism protection and maintain order alongside members of the Virgin Islands Port Authority Police Department. Guardsmen have also supported the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the number of passengers has increased. All activities are monitored via security cameras within the National Guard’s newly established Base Defense Operation Center (BDOC). A desk sergeant can also reach all National Guard MPs and SFs on the island by radio from the site.
“Security forces are the eyes and ears who serve as a deterrent,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Segobia, a member of the Arizona Air National Guard. “Having this show of force mitigates a lot of potential ‘what if scenarios.’”
Pentagram Staff Writer Arthur Mondale can be reached at email@example.com.