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News

May 23 , 2014:

The Office of the Independent Monitor has issued its First Quarterly Report of 2014.

Click to read the Report.


About the OIM

The Office of the Independent Monitor (“OIM”) was established in early January 2010 to monitor compliance by the Territory of the Virgin Islands (the “Virgin Islands”) and the Virgin Islands Police Department (“VIPD” or the “Department”) with the Consent Decree entered by the United States District Court for the Virgin Islands on March 23, 2009.  Paragraph 96 of the Consent Decree requires the Monitor to “issue quarterly written, public reports detailing the Territory of the Virgin Islands’ compliance with and implementation of each substantive provision” of the Consent Decree.

The Consent Decree reflects the agreement of the Virgin Islands, VIPD, and the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) (collectively, the “Parties”) to resolve a lawsuit brought by the United States alleging that the Virgin Islands and VIPD have violated 42 U.S.C.  14141 by engaging “in a pattern or practice of excessive force by officers of the Virgin Islands Police Department and by the failure to adequately train, supervise, investigate, and discipline officers, and the failure to establish consistent policies, procedures, and practices that appropriately guide and monitor the actions of VIPD officers and the VIPD’s response to those actions.”

 

About the Consent Decree

On December 23, 2008, the Virgin Islands, VIPD, and DOJ filed the Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the United States Virgin Islands District in order to resolve DOJ’s lawsuit against the Virgin Islands and VIPD.  Five years after DOJ initiated its investigation of VIPD, the Court entered the Consent Decree as an order of the Court on March 23, 2009.  The 104‑paragraph Consent Decree is a lengthy document that details specific policies, procedures, and reforms that VIPD must develop and implement in the areas of use of force; documenting, evaluating, and reviewing uses of force; receiving, tracking, and investigating complaints by members of the public; the management and supervision, including discipline, of VIPD officers; and the training of officers on use of force issues.

The Consent Decree also provides for the selection and appointment of an Independent Monitor “who shall monitor and report on the VIPD’s implementation of” the Consent Decree.  The Monitor’s role under the Consent Decree is broad in some respects and limited in others.  The Monitor is charged with conducting “compliance reviews to ensure that VIPD has implemented and continues to implement all measures required” under the Consent Decree.  The Monitor also is authorized to make recommendations to the Parties intended to promote the full and timely implementation of the Consent Decree’s reforms.  The Consent Decree is clear, however, that the Monitor possesses only the duties, responsibilities, and authority conferred by the Consent Decree and that the “Monitor shall not, and is not intended to, replace or take over the role and duties of the Governor of the [Virgin Islands] or the Police Commissioner.”

By its terms, the Consent Decree will terminate five years after the effective date of the Consent Decree, which is March 23, 2014.  The Consent Decree may terminate before the expiration of this five‑year period if the Parties agree that the Virgin Islands and VIPD “are in substantial compliance with each of the provisions of [the Consent Decree], and have maintained substantial compliance for at least two years.”

Click here to be linked to the Consent Decree

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Independent Monitor if you have any questions that are not answered by the material posted on this site.

Steven M. Witzel
Independent Monitor
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP


Please Note: This site is not maintained by the Virgin Islands Police Department or by any other agency of the United States Virgin Islands. The Office of the Independent Monitor ("OIM") is not an agency of the Virgin Islands. The OIM is not authorized to accept citizen complaints regarding alleged officer misconduct. Misconduct complaints filed with the OIM will not be investigated by the OIM. Members of the public seeking to file a complaint against a VIPD officer should visit the VIPD’s website at www.vipd.gov.vi or contact VIPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau or a local VIPD police station.