Police Commissioner David Baines says everyday his officers go above and beyond the call of duty to protect and serve the community, but every year there is always one who outshines the rest. This year that officer was Fernando Soto.
Mr. Soto responds to high level threat scenarios, and helps to remove drugs and weapons off of Cayman’s streets. During the annual Police Awards Gala, he was presented with the 2015 – 2016 Police Officer of the Year award. Upon accepting the award, he told Cayman 27 he was simply grateful.
“I want to make this community [safer] so I put my life at risk, and I do what I have to,” said Mr. Soto.
Commissioner Baines says there is no denying there are also bad officers who fail to deliver on their oath to up hold the safety and well being of the country.
He said, “Yes I’ve had some problem officers and we’ve done our best to deal with those, and will continue to do that and I’m sure the next commissioner will do exactly the same.” But hasten to add, the vast majority of officers do the right thing on a daily basis.
Officer Soto acknowledged in recent times the RCIPS came under fire from all angles, but says he and his colleagues will continue to care, listen and act.
“We understand that people have a voice, people will talk about it, but we have to remain professional. We are here to protect the people of these islands and I take that very seriously,” he said.
But it wasn’t just officers who were recognised for their bravery and selflessness in the face of danger. Donya Chisholm received the Community Award, for aiding with the capture and successful convictions of persons involved in the black beards robbery. Scott Ruby is the Community Award runner-up, he says understands the true meaning of being ‘your bother’s keeper’.
Mr. Ruby was driving behind Jessie Perry and her boyfriend in September 2015. He witnessed as the car hit a curb flipped in the air and landed on its roof. The car then burst into flames. Mr. Ruby wasted no time, he ran over to the car, risking his own life, and pulled out Ms Perry. A week later she succumbed to her injuries in a hospital in Jamiaca, around family and friends.
When asked why he risked his own life he said, “What kind of man would I be if I drove by? What kind of a human would I be if I drove by?” He added, “She was in a bad spot, I only wish I could have helped more.”
To view the rest of events that unfolded that night, click here.