Paul Rolle assumed the leadership of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) as the eighth commissioner of police yesterday during a small ceremony at police headquarters.
Rolle, who joined the police force in 1983, succeeds Anthony Ferguson, who headed the force since October 2017.
“I assure you that I will discharge my constitutional duties without fear, favor or influence by the consideration of the people involved, and without pressure from or partiality to any person or other external influence,” the new commissioner vowed.
Additionally, Rolle said, “I am immensely conscious of public concern over the manner in which a minority of officers abuse their authority or perform their duties in an unprofessional way.
“I will, along with my senior executive leadership team, continue to monitor complaints and will take fair, firm and decisive actions where there are grounds to take disciplinary actions against any officer or member of the force. None of us [are] above the law and we must all be accountable for our actions.”
Rolle also thanked his wife.
“When I wanted to resign from policing for having two promotions over a 15-year period while some skipped, hopped three and four times in five years, you encouraged me to stay focused on why I became a police officer in the first place, which is to serve,” Rolle said.
“I say thank you for being there and listening to my concerns.”
Rolle is taking over the force during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis imposing a 24-hour national curfew and ordering the closure of non-essential businesses.
During the ceremony, Minnis said, “You assume command during a national emergency that will require great leadership, sensitivity and unity of purpose and command.
“The country is looking to you and to the good men and women of the Royal Bahamas Police Force to help enforce our laws and the temporary emergency measures that will help us to combat the COVID-19 threat.”
Rolle served as head of the Central Detective Unit (CDU), the commandant of the Police Training Academy and as head of the Anti-Corruption Branch.
During his time at CDU, Rolle “was instrumental in leading the successful conclusion of many serious criminal investigations and placing in excess of 2,400 cases before the Supreme Court”.
He studied public administration at The College of The Bahamas in 1998; public administration at the University of The West Indies in 2000; professional management at the Nova Southeastern University; and criminology at the University of Leicester in 2006.
Rolle is also a licensed minister and pastor.
In his final address as commissioner, Ferguson said he leaves the force satisfied that he did his best.
“Yes, there were challenges, but we saw them as opportunities,” said Ferguson, who joined the force 40 years ago.
He thanked the prime minister, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames and members of the RBPF.
Minnis acknowledged Ferguson’s work as commissioner.
“During your nearly three-year tenure as commissioner, you worked diligently to reduce crime and murder in our land after many years of an ever-increasing crime rate,” Minnis said.
“Through enhanced policing and strong command, you led the force in the reduction of crime and a more integrated and streamlined command structure. Through a range of innovative and vigorous policing measures, including various technological advances, you achieved what many thought impossible.
“A grateful nation thanks you for your leadership and stewardship of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”