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First female Superintendent of Police retires

First female Superintendent of Police retires

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Stenelia Francis, the first female to attain the rank of Superintendent of Police (SOP) in the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, has proceeded on pre-retirement leave.

Francis leaves active duty after a period of 36 years and eight months. She will officially retire in November 2015.{{more}}

Commissioner of Police Michael Charles lauded SOP Francis for her service to the Police Force and to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

COP Charles, who said he knew SOP Francis prior to her becoming a police officer, said: “There comes a time in all of our lives that the road we trod in a given time will come to an end. I’ll add the end of a sojourn. She has given yeomen service.”

Commissioner Charles described SOP Francis as a hard worker and said he wished her all the best in her future endeavours.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Godfred Pompey, in his tribute to Francis, asserted that the Ministry of National Security and, by extension, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, appreciate the hard work that Francis rendered during her tenure.

Kind sentiments were also expressed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Reynold Hadaway, and Assistant Commissioners of Police Frankie Joseph, Carlos Sampson and Brenton Cain.

SOP Ruth Jacobs, head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), noted that prior to 2012, no female police officer had ever attained the rank of SOP, but that trend was broken by Francis. “SOP Francis paved the way for women to attain the rank of SOP. I thank you for your service to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and to the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.”

SOP Kamecia Blake-Byam told Francis that it had been a pleasure working with her. She implored Francis to enjoy her retirement and be happy. “You paved the way for me and I’ll pave the way for others,” SOP Blake-Byam promised.

SOP Francis said she was employed as a teacher with a monthly salary of $198, when the opportunity to be a police officer came her way. She recalled back then a constable’s salary was quite attractive, when compared to that of other professions, though it was $390.

Shortly after Francis left teaching, she travelled to Barbados to receive her initial training as a police officer.

“When the training hit me in Barbados, I asked myself what I had gotten myself into,” said Francis as she spoke of the rigours of her law enforcement training programme. She said that she dug deep within herself and eventually persevered to successfully complete the programmes.

She said after 36 years serving her country as a police officer, retirement offers her a new beginning. “Those hobbies I could not do while I was working as a police officer, I will use the opportunity to do that now.”

SOP Francis also plans to use her time winning souls for God. “I have locked up many people for this organization; now I am going to lock up souls for Jesus.”

Giving parting advice to her colleagues, Francis challenged them to give their all to Jesus. She told the members of the officer corps that if they give their all to Jesus, their reward will be great.

During her tenure she served at the Traffic Department for 24 years, before serving as the Divisional Commander for Central and Eastern Divisions.(Police Public Relations)

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