USVI gives peace officer status to federal agents
Virgin Islands government said the new law will allow the police department to seek help from federal agencies
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands — U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John de Jongh has signed a legislation that awards peace officer status to federal authorities.
The long-awaited bill comes a few months after de Jongh requested that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives return to the Caribbean island to help fight a rise in crime.
The agency pulled its agents out of the U.S. territory in 2008 after local police charged an ATF agent in a fatal shooting following his intervention in a domestic dispute. A judge later threw out the case on a technicality.
The Virgin Islands government said in a statement Saturday that the new law will allow the three-island territory's police department to seek help from federal agencies in curbing crime and illegal weapons smuggling.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press