The call for nominees for 2016 Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Awards was launched with a reception hosted by Governor Helen Kilpatrick at Government House on Tuesday night.
“This is the start as we run on to our awards evening on the 23rd of April,” said Police Commisioner David Baines, adding that while the gala dinner event has historically been held on a Friday night, this year it will be on a Saturday because Cayman HospiceCare is having its annual “Big Bash” event on April 22.
Launched in 2011, the RCIPS Outstanding Service Awards recognize officers and police support staff who “go above and beyond the call of duty.” Award categories include Police Officer of the Year; Police Welfare Award; Special Constable of the Year; Support Staff Member of the Year; Diversity Award; and Community Award.
Mr. Baines said the awards acknowledge “the good and noble and courageous and the public service” of Cayman’s police officers. He took the opportunity to refute the idea expressed in some media and blogs that Cayman’s officers are not effective.
“This is the safest island in the Caribbean, and there’s 1 percent who say it isn’t true,” he said. “Trust me, it is. I’m not saying we’re perfect. We have a lot to do, but we’re doing it every year.”
Pinnacle Media Ltd. co-publisher Vicki Legge, who helps organize the Police Service Awards, spoke to the reception attendees and encouraged them to support the initiative by sponsoring the event, as well as by making nominations for the individual awards.
In his sponsorship letter, Mr. Baines said the money raised goes to the Police Welfare Fund, which came into being in 1969 following the death of Officer Obediah Wilks in a road accident, leaving the officer’s six children in financial distress. A police ball to raise money was organized to provide financial assistance to Officer Wilks’s family, primarily to help cover the cost of their education, and the Police Welfare Fund was started. Today, in addition to helping the families of officers who have died, the fund has expanded to include supporting officers who have significant illness or injury.
The Police Welfare Fund and the Police Service Awards initiative have no direct cost to the public.
“It is our goal to secure private and corporate support to underwrite the entire cost of the evening so that 100 percent of the proceeds from tickets sales will benefit the Police Welfare Fund,” Commissioner Baines said in his letter. “No government funds whatsoever will be used for this event.”
Five levels of sponsorship are available, from $1,000 to $15,000.
“Additional participation is available through the purchase of corporate tables and defraying the cost of tickets for attending officers,” Mr. Baines said.
Nominations for individual police service awards should be made on the pertinent form and either hand-delivered to the nearest police station or sent by email to [email protected] by March 24.