(CMR) The RCIPS bid farewell to recently-retired Special Constabulary Commandant Chris Duggan, after 22 years of service as a member of the RCIPS Special Constabulary. Former Commandant Duggan will be traveling to Washington, DC, where he will take on the role of the Cayman Islands Government representative for North America.
As of 1 January, Former Deputy Commandant Arthur McTaggart, a Special Constable with over 20 years of service, has taken over as the new Commandant for the Special Constabulary. Commandant McTaggart became Deputy Commandant at the same time as Mr. Duggan, and the two have served together since then.
Mr. Duggan joined the Special Constabulary in 1999 and became Commandant in 2011, overseeing all of the volunteer police officers in the service. The duties of these Special Constabulary officers range from assisting with traffic enforcement, weekend patrols, and business checks to special events such as the Royal Visit and the KABOO festival in 2019.
Mr. Duggan said that he had seen many changes in his 22 years of service, including the stripes of the Special Constable uniforms being changed from blue to red to make them more easily identifiable as police officers. However, he says, through all the changes, the purpose and commitment of the Special Constabulary remained the same.
“We provide support to the RCIPS in whatever we are called to do. But the goal has always been, and continues to be, building safer communities and serving the public,” Former Commandant Duggan said.
“Our Special Constables are an invaluable part of the RCIPS, providing us with resilience that enables us to continue to meet the demands of policing,” said Commissioner Derek Byrne.
“Their importance was proven even more during the COVID-19 restrictions, as these officers went above and beyond what had been asked of them before and worked long and difficult hours alongside their colleagues in the service and other partner organizations to help keep Cayman safe,” he continued.
Commandant McTaggart said that stepping into the role of Commandant feels like the right choice at this time.
“When I was first approached by Chris and the Commissioner about taking on the role, I was honored but also a bit hesitant,” he said.
“Even though I had served as deputy for many years, stepping into Chris’ shoes as the head of the Specials is an important responsibility. But I soon realized that my previous experience and knowledge of the organization enables me to provide a level of continuity that will allow us to continue to build on the work that we began during my time as deputy,” he added.
Commandant McTaggart will work with the Commissioner over the next few months to appoint a new Deputy Commandant. Afterward, the new Special Constabulary heads will turn their efforts towards building the numbers and capabilities of the unit through expanded recruitment and training.
“I am very happy to welcome Arthur as the new Commandant of the Specials,” said Commissioner Byrne. “He brings with him decades of experience and was a natural fit for the position. We are excited to see the Special Constabulary continue to grow and are hoping to build to having a minimum of 50 active members, who will help ensure that the Constabulary is able to continue meeting the needs of the organization well into the future.”
Commandant Duggan says he is grateful for his time in the service and for the support he has received.
“It has been a privilege and pleasure to be able to serve the people of the Cayman Islands for so long. I am thankful for the support I have received from Commissioner Byrne and his team, and I also want to thank my entire team of Special Constables, especially my Senior Command Team, for everything. I could not have done this without them, and I wish them all the best going forward. I have every confidence that they will continue to exemplify the values of service that define the Special Constabulary and that Arthur, in particular, will excel in the role of Commandant,” he said.
“I wish Former Commandant Duggan every success in his new role in Washington, and I thank him for his committed service over the past two decades. It has been a pleasure working with him during my tenure as Commissioner of Police. I look forward to seeing him when he returns to visit, and I’m sure he will be back in uniform alongside his fellow specials whenever he is back on island,” Commissioner Byrne stated.
“I also want to encourage anyone who is looking for a way to serve their community to consider joining the Special Constabulary,” added Former Commandant Duggan. “It is an important role, and it allows you to make a real difference at all levels of the community. That was true when I began, and it remains true 22 years later.”