Pioneering commissioner had profound impact
Bermuda bid farewell to former Commissioner of Police Frederick “Penny” Bean yesterday in a well-attended ceremony at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Hamilton.
Police commissioner Stephen Corbishley said Mr Bean had a profound impact on all his fellow officers.
Mr Corbishley said Mr Bean not only made history as being the first Bermudian to rise to the ranks of commissioner; he also spearheaded initiatives such as the parish constables programme, which is set to be relaunched next year.
He suggested they be labelled “Penny Constables” in honour of the late police chief.
He told the congregation: “There are no new ideas in policing, just good ones and bad ones. One of the good ones was Commissioner Bean’s commitment to community policing by the introduction of the parish constable scheme. Officers who knew their community, and more importantly their community, knew them.
“I spoke to Commissioner Bean a few months ago at length and he gave great support and advice for what the BPS does now. His leadership is as relevant now as it was then.” Mr Corbishley added: “In that regard, it may be that we do not see these as ‘police constables’ or ‘parish constables’. It may be that in celebration of Commissioner Bean’s contribution to policing and the community of Bermuda that we think of them as ‘Penny Constables’.”
Hundreds of mourners came to the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity to pay tribute to Mr Bean, including Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, John Rankin, the Governor, and MPs from both parties.
Mr Bean’s daughter, Gina Butterfield, said that everyone liked her father, who many called “Uncle Penny”, even if he would put them in their place when needed.
She said: “I know without a doubt that my daddy was my protector, my confidant and my adviser. I could go to him with any small concern, and he would guide me through it.
“His knowledge and experience — he was well educated in the school of hard knocks — provided a plethora of wisdom. I’m confident that he knew right until the end that he was loved.”
She recalled that after he was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in the days before his death, he thanked the EMTs, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service.
Ms Butterfield added: “Daddy, you lived a full and accomplished life. Bermuda’s history books will speak of your professional accomplishments, of which we are proud, but we will remember your active involvement in our lives.
“You wanted the best for us, and from us. We have so many stories and memories that will live on for ever in our hearts.”
Rochelle Simons, another daughter, said Mr Bean was a “man’s man” who was generous, but had high expectations for those around him.
She said: “He looked after his family, he was protective of us. He was disciplined. He was by the book. Dad’s frugal childhood influenced his appreciation of the simplest things. He focused on providing for his family and ensuring that our basic needs were met.
“We had everything we needed and some of the things we wanted, and we had to take care of everything.”
Mr Bean joined the BPS, then the Bermuda Police Force, in 1956 at the age of 19 and worked his way to the top job in 1981, becoming Bermuda’s first black police commissioner.
He was named to the Order of the British Empire and earned the Colonial Police Long Service Medal and the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
The church also heard he was an active member of Abercorn Lodge #123, a past president of the Hamilton Lions Club of Bermuda and a member of the Amenities Committee of the Lorraine Rest Home.