Volume No. 2 Issue No. 63 - Monday, December 29, 2008|
Dominica Police Chief Bids Farewell
By Sean Douglas
Dominica’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Matthias Lestrade, who proceeds on pre-retirement leave on December 30th 2008 after forty-one (41) years of service in the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, has said he is leaving the Police Force at a time when the country is stable.
Police Chief Mathias Lestrade on the right is congratulated by headof CID Duke Sevarin.
Mr. Matthias Lestrade, who joined the Police Force at the time when Mr. Edward Oliver Leblanc was the country’s Premier, made the remarks at a surprise farewell reception organised by the gazetted officers of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force on Tuesday at Police Headquarters in Roseau.
“I am leaving the Police Force at a time when the country and I am happy for it- Dominica- is stabilised. Dominica is a stable country. Crime wise we are stable, we can manage it and we are managing it. In terms of security, the country is stable. Politically the country is stable and this is what I would like to see and that is what is happening,” Mr. Lestrade stated.
The Commissioner acknowledged the contribution of members of the Police Force for their support, assistance and encouragement over the years and added “ if we can continue like that our Police Force will be the envy of the OECS and the entire Caribbean”.
Mr. Lestrade also took time out to pay homage to his wife for her contribution to his own personal development and success as a Police Officer.
“She has stood behind me lock, stock and barrel even when I thought that I was not standing up, she stood with me. So it was not a solo contribution. The wife actually played a major role. I owe it all to her as well for assisting me to be who I am and what I have been.”
In his remarks at the ceremony, Superintendent of Police, Mr. Nicholas George said that Mr. Lestrade was leaving the Force with an unblemished record and was “leaving on a high”. Mr. George also said that Mr. Lestrade was leaving behind “a bunch of police officers who are capable of continuing in your footsteps and raising the Force to a higher level”.
Mr. Lestrade entered the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force on August 15, 1968. He has been Commissioner of Police since July, 2000. In October, 1983, he led the Regional Security System (RSS) contingent which included the Dominican contingent of forty (40) in Grenada in support of the United States intervention in that country following the bloody events of that time when Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several of his Cabinet colleagues were killed at Fort Rupert on October 19th 1983.
In his eight years at the helm of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, he has presided over significant investments by the Labour Party Government in the Force, unprecedented in the life of the organisation.
In many of his public pronouncements in the last year he has spoken about a “revolution in police mobility in Dominica”. In the last twelve months, the Police have received twenty-one (21) new vehicles from Government for use at Police Stations across the country.
Government has also financed the refurbishment of the Barracks at Police Headquarters as well as repairs to the barracks at the Police Training School at Morne Bruce.
Very early in the New Year thirty-four (34) new recruits will begin training, taking the Police Force to full strength at 444.
It has been under his watch that the concept of Community Policing was introduced by the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force in 2007.
Government has invested $1.485 million in a Patrol Vessel for use by the Marine Coast Guard. The Vessel will arrive in Dominica from Arkansas, United States of America early in 2009.
Mr. Lestrade has also presided over significant improvements to Police Stations in St. Joseph, Mahaut, Marigot, Vieille Case Delices among others. Work is expected to commence in 2009 on a new Police Station in Grand Bay at a cost of some $3 million.
Looking to the future the outgoing Commissioner of Police stated that he would like to see emphasis placed on specialised training in the Police Force. He spoke about his wish to see the Police Force in Dominica, like other countries, with its officers with university training in forensic science.
“I am hoping that the discussions which are taking place now as I speak will be brought to fruition. Because now we are in contact with a university and the Government has agreed to fund that project and in the not too distant future we will be identifying suitable officers to participate in this programme,” Mr Lestrade concluded.
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