12-hour shifts, 2,500 checks – meet the soldiers working to protect us all – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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12-hour shifts, 2,500 checks - meet the soldiers working to protect us all

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The Royal Bermuda Regiment personnel were out in force manning checkpoints across the island. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
The Royal Bermuda Regiment personnel were out in force manning checkpoints across the island. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Regiment soldiers stationed at vehicle check points have commended the public for largely remaining compliant with Covid-19 regulations.

The Royal Gazette stationed with a group of soldiers at East Broadway on Saturday to observe the operation.

The road was blocked in both directions with barriers and traffic cones and a line of soldiers who spoke to the passengers of each passing vehicle.

Traffic moved quickly and smoothly through the checkpoints, the drivers enjoyed brief, friendly interactions with Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers and many beeped their horns.

Sergeant Calvin Bean Jr said: “We haven’t had any rowdy customers. They are getting used to us being out here and they have their ID and everything they need ready.

“We don’t want people out here if they are not supposed to be so if they say they are grocery shopping we make sure it is the correct day.

“Some say it is their day to be out but they are only allowed to go to the store and go back.

“The first day we had someone on a bike blow through our check point, we radioed the licence plate number into police and the police went to their house. The police are doing their job.”

The soldiers remain at a checkpoint for about two hours before moving onto a new location during their 12-hour shift. There are also roving patrols with soldiers checking off-limit areas such as the parks and railway trails.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley paid a visit along with honorary Colonel David Gibbons, former Commanding Officer, to the morning checkpoint at East Broadway to check in on the soldiers.

“We are here to make sure that the road users have a legitimate reason to be on the road and are in compliance with the law and government policy,” Colonel Beasley.

“Just as any good commander does, I am making sure my guys are doing what they are supposed to be doing, I trust them but it is good to check in and show them that I am supporting them.

“The honorary colonel has come out with me today as well. He is a former commanding officer and knows how important it is to check in with your guys and physically show them support.

“I am always pleased with the way the soldiers, some of whom are quite young, interact with the public, they are always very polite.

“Members of the public continue to be almost exclusively compliant.”

Colonel Beasley said that soldiers would typically make about 2,500 checks during a 12-hour shift, some of which might be the same vehicle, multiple times.

“They are all people who are legally allowed to be on the road. The community has been fantastic. We have the power to detain but we do not arrest. We detain until a police officer shows up.

“It did happen rarely last year sometimes we would have an officer with us during the busier times. The police service does have roads policing out that will respond within minutes if we have a call.”

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Published April 19, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated April 19, 2021 at 6:51 am)

12-hour shifts, 2,500 checks - meet the soldiers working to protect us all

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