In times of turmoil and crisis, people naturally crave leadership that they can believe in, thus placing their faith in persons who are skillful at their given positions in government or private industry, and who can inspire confidence in those interacting with them. Currently in the Federation, no issue is under more public scrutiny than crime, and many questions have been raised about how effective the Police Force has been in providing solutions to the spiraling problem. Needless to say, communication is a vitally important part of the confidence-building process between the police and local citizenry. The more adroitly that information — both good and bad — concerning the crime situation is disseminated, the more comfortable residents will be that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. A very big part of the noted tasks fall squarely on the shoulders of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force Public Relations Officer (PRO). Fulfilling the job responsibilities of a PRO is hardly a sinecure position, buffeted on one side By the police tendency to desire more confidentiality in their operations, and on the other By the public’s “right to know’ the current status on criminal investigations through the press. Finding the right balance must be difficult, to be sure, but if a PRO isn’t able to do so then the community being served suffers from a lack of information. Given the aforementioned high level of national interest in matters pertaining to crime, it would be an exceedingly wise strategic move to quickly release every single piece of news that demonstrated to Federation residents that the country’s law enforcers were doing everything possible to stem the rising tide. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seen to be happening, and the PRO is more known for evading the press and hiding behind excuses, such as being in meetings, than demonstrating assertiveness in contacting and thoroughly briefing all of the media houses on the most up-to-date news surrounding police activities. With a dearth of solid information disseminated through official channels, a large void has been created that has predictably been filled with rumor, innuendo, and gossip ” not much of it positive. A truly proactive PRO would quickly fill this void in a forthright manner, avoiding compromising police operations but at the same time consistently working to build up the public’s trust. After all, without trust any law enforcement department is rendered ineffective. The public has to be involved, and preferably highly engaged, in helping police to root out both criminals and crime. Once a solid partnership has been formed between the two groups, lawbreakers have no place to hide. Someone always knows something about illicit activities in a given locale, and if they are confident enough that their tips will be followed up on, then it becomes valuable information in the hands of the police. All of this, however, starts with how the information is molded and distributed. Any PRO holds among the most important positions in his or her country, because so much of a nation’s fortunes ” especially in the Caribbean ” are tied to its international reputation for providing safety and security for its citizens and visitors, alike. The role of a PRO has been aptly described as follows: (1) to engage in media relations and news management activities in a professional, timely and effective manner, providing the police force with a prompt and effective response to operational incidents and issues and proactively generating positive news stories; (2) to ensure the department’s approach towards news management is consistent, and in line with policy; and (3) to build lasting relationships between the police and news organisations based upon mutual understanding, accountability, transparency and trust to help enhance public confidence in the service. Wouldn’t it be of great benefit for all concerned parties if that job description was matched By job performance? Lastly, an integral element in communicating with the press and the public at large necessarily involves utilizing the social media via the Internet in the most advantageous way. Anyone who is familiar with the current state of the official press releases being displayed on the police Web site knows of its serious shortcomings. While e-mail releases have been timelier of late, lots more needs to be done. It’s time for accountability, and a higher level of demonstrated leadership and vision, from the PRO. Will it happen?