Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Twenty-seven members of the security forces in St. Kitts and Nevis are better equipped to execute their duties, after completing a four-day Drug Enforcement Administration Training.
Much of the hands-on training for the officers from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department and soldiers from the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) took place at the Police Training Complex, where they reviewed defensive tactics, firearm exercises, house clearing and raids.
SKNDF Sergeant Laughton Huggins described the sessions as “magnificent” and said he is better prepared to meet the daily challenges of the job. Constable Maurice Sergeant, who is attached to the local Drug Squad Unit, explained that the room clearing exercises were particularly useful. He congratulated the organizers, headed by Inspector Travis Rogers, for including the SKNDF and the Customs and Excise Department in the training, as the agencies typically collaborate in a number of ways.
A team of instructors from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lead by Supervisor Special Agent Tony Mendonca facilitated the training. He told the men and women that he was impressed with their performance at the October 2 to 5 course and stressed that will it help to keep them safe while on duty.
“The most important thing in this job is to go home at nights, each and every single day to your families so that you can perform (your duties) again the following day,” he stated. “I believe that we have passed some tools that you can put [in] your toolbag and that you can use to do just that and if any of the tools that we provided to you has enabled you to do that then we’ve done our job in coming over here.”
The request for DEA agents to share their expertise was first requested in July when Commissioner of Police Celvin G. Walwyn had a conversation with Michele Leonhart, the Administrator of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. A follow up call a few weeks ago confirmed the agency’s availability.
“This is a very serious training,” Commissioner Walwyn emphasized, noting the caliber of the agents and the DEA’s professional reputation. “These are the type of friends you have out there. They are friends of the Federation, they are willing to do what it takes to make sure we get on top and stay on top [of crime].”
The police chief also cited his recent attendance of the Crime Stoppers International Conference in Barbados.
“They are speaking about the progress you have made as an agency and you all should be proud of yourselves because others now want to be like you,” he stressed.
Mention was also made of the increased support that has been received by the RSCNPF from other regional and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector and local population.
“People are willing to support the police force and the joint forces because they can see the change and the determination that you have for the reduction of crime in this Federation and they are willing to be part of it,” Commissioner Walwyn stated.
He concluded by pledging to continue efforts to bring advanced training for members of the security forces to enhance their skills while remaining safe in the pursuit of protecting the life and property of residents and visitors of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.