Make The Damn Arrest With Authority.….

January 1982 I entered the police train­ing school on the back of a police truck, I was excit­ed about becom­ing a police offi­cer, hav­ing decid­ed against going to Mico Teachers col­lege .
My sojourn at Port Royal was one of excite­ment but also one of dis­ap­point­ment as the group of us around fifty plus was not a full com­ple­ment which would be enough to make up a grad­u­at­ing class.
So it was weeks before we took the oath of office despite the fact that we were effec­tive­ly seen as agents of the state and was sub­ject to the dic­tates of the staff.
Not only was the num­ber of us insuf­fi­cient we lat­er real­ized that we would be the last batch of recruits ever to set foot as police trainees at the Port Royal facil­i­ty.
Police train­ing was to be removed to the for­mer Jamaica School of Agriculture at Twickenham Park and we were to be the ones doing the heavy lift­ing of remov­ing the school into the new facil­i­ty which would become the Police Academy.
It was iron­ic because as a high school stu­dent I decid­ed I would attend the Jamaica School of Agriculture after I was giv­en a free trip to the school by my Agriculture teacher mis­ter Bascoe.
I nev­er real­ized I would receive train­ing at the same facil­i­ty but for a whole oth­er dis­ci­pline.
Months lat­er a full com­ple­ment of recruits arrived and we com­menced train­ing. December of 1982 one hun­dred and five of us passed out as pro­ba­tion­ary con­sta­bles. We would hold the dis­tinct hon­or of being the very first batch to com­mence train­ing and pass out at the police acad­e­my.

After serv­ing the force for rough­ly 10 years I decid­ed in 1991 it was best if I left as I did not like the direc­tion in which it appeared to be head­ing. At the time my boss at the CIB office at Constant Spring Noël Asphall, a man I loved and had the utmost respect for told me he was sad to see me go but if he was my age he would have done the very same thing.
I real­ized there and then that my deci­sion to exit the force at that time was indeed the cor­rect deci­sion, one I have not regret­ted since.
The present Assistant Commissioner of police in charge of crime Élan Powell served under mis­ter Asphall’s lead­er­ship as well as oth­er senior offi­cers of the depart­ment SSP Colin Pinnock, ACP Devon Watkiss, and oth­ers.

Many oth­er for­mer mem­bers of that cadre of offi­cers who made up the Constant Spring CIB office have left as I have, and a cou­ple has not fared as well as they ought to, nev­er­the­less I believe that that group of detec­tives was arguably the best ever assem­bled any­where in Jamaica in the his­to­ry of the JCF .
We pro­duced results. Not ever offi­cer was per­fect, in fact, none of us were, what we learned was to make each piece of the puz­zle work as a cohe­sive unit for the bet­ter­ment of the office, the results were astound­ing.
There are many unsung heroes whose names I will nev­er for­get , men like Donald McKinnis, Barrington Campbell, Altamont (Parra) Campbell, Jerry Wallace, Tracy, Little wicked Henry, Dadrick Henry, (Ellison deceased) Hanson, Scully, Allan Campbell, Dacres, Marc Foster, Allen Gauntlet ‚Ankle, Artel Morgan, George Henry, Dawes, and oth­ers.

We under­stood the val­ue and the con­cept of “Esprit the corp”, as police detec­tives we knew quite well that we depend­ed on each oth­er to be the eyes behind each oth­er. Looking out for the safe­ty of our fel­low offi­cers could only be a bad thing if it emanat­ed from the intel­lec­tu­al ghet­to.
We were con­fi­dent that the offi­cer behind us was not a part of any crim­i­nal gang, he or she was not aligned to any crim­i­nal enter­prise which would cause him/​her to put a bul­let in the back of our indi­vid­ual heads.
As I said we weren’t per­fect but we under­stood the weak­ness­es and frail­ties inher­ent in each oth­er. It came as no sur­prise that on the night a cow­ard attacked and shot me in my hip on Blackwood Terrace off Red Hills Road a recent trans­plant the detec­tive cor­po­ral who had recent­ly arrived from Spanish Town to join the office ran away out of fear.
None of the core group of offi­cers would have shown such cow­ardice. Ultimately though shot, I pre­vailed against the cow­ard­ly punk and removed anoth­er weapon from the streets in 1988.

I nev­er received a tele­phone call from the Commissioner of Police Herman Rickets, nei­ther did I receive any com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the police fed­er­a­tion. It did not require much more for me to real­ize that the police agency was not one in which I want­ed to remain.
Despite the sev­er­al com­men­da­tions which would come lat­er my mind was made up that the police force would not be a career for me.

Fast for­ward to the 90’s and the 2000’s between the entrenched Government of the day and the crim­i­nal lob­by­ists the police were incred­i­bly indoc­tri­nat­ed from the acad­e­my into believ­ing that “Esprit de corps” was a bad thing.
Young recruits were indoc­tri­nat­ed into believ­ing that their core func­tion was to respect the rights of crim­i­nals, not place them in cus­tody where they belong.
At the same time there was zero empha­sis in the pub­lic space on edu­cat­ing the pub­lic about the respect it must have for the rule of law. There was no edu­ca­tion that the offi­cers who enforced the law must be respect­ed. Most impor­tant­ly, there were no new laws enact­ed which made it a felony pun­ish­able with seri­ous prison time for assault­ing a police offi­cer.

The reverse was done, as was the case when I served up to the ear­ly 90’s, activist judges (you’ve guessed it from the intel­lec­tu­al ghet­to, would sum­mar­i­ly dis­miss assault and resist­ing arrest charges against even the most hos­tile crim­i­nals. This in and of itself forced offi­cers to be more aggres­sive in pro­tect­ing them­selves because nei­ther the leg­is­la­ture nor the courts would.
The peri­od of the 1990’s to ear­ly 2000 was a peri­od which saw crime esca­late to unprece­dent­ed lev­els cul­mi­nat­ing in over 1600 homi­cides for the sin­gle year of 2005.
This did not hap­pen overnight.
The PNP admin­is­tra­tion which held pow­er for an unprece­dent­ed 1412 years did noth­ing about crime. Percival James Patterson the Prime min­is­ter for most of that peri­od a lawyer by trade, pret­ty much gave crim­i­nals (carte blanch) a blank check, to do what­ev­er they want­ed, the nar­ra­tive which emanat­ed from that peri­od in Jamaican his­to­ry was “run wid it , any­thing a any­thing”.

It was a tac­it sup­port and endorse­ment for peo­ple to go out and do what­ev­er they want­ed to do while the admin­is­tra­tion went ahead wrecked the econ­o­my and pil­laged the nation’s cof­fers.
It has been com­mon knowl­edge that the major­i­ty of the Jamaican peo­ple pre­fer when the PNP forms the Government because they are allowed to do as they please.
They under­stand that a PNP Government does not care a rat’s ass about putting crim­i­nals in jail, it’s free­dom to do what­ev­er they want.
To this day some of the nations most vio­lent crim­i­nal gangs are affil­i­at­ed with the par­ty. Arresting well-con­nect­ed king­pins in Jamaica whether PNP or JLP can only be under­tak­en by the United States of America.
Not only did Patterson not do a damn thing about the crime rate he nev­er made a red cent avail­able to train a sin­gle detec­tive for almost a whole decade.
The Police hier­ar­chy attest­ed to that fact. That was the peri­od when the very nature of our coun­try changed. The cul­ture changed. The peo­ple changed. It was the time dur­ing which our coun­try expe­ri­enced unprece­dent­ed lev­els of homi­cides and became the num­ber one mur­der cap­i­tal of the world.
A dubi­ous dis­tinc­tion which occurred under the PNP’s stew­ard­ship.

Is the PNP sole­ly respon­si­ble for the nation’s woes?
Absolutely not but that par­ty has con­trolled pow­er for most of the time since Independence they have a larg­er share of the blame. It was under their watch that a Pediatric Doctor was able to effec­tive­ly change the way our nations streets and by-ways are policed. The result, thou­sands more dead, maimed and muti­lat­ed.
No per­son in their right mind would want a police state in which agents of the state abuse the rights of cit­i­zens, or are not held account­able when they break the laws. For the dura­tion of the ten years I served I made a con­scious effort to be cour­te­ous as much as I could to the peo­ple with whom I inter­act­ed. It was not always pos­si­ble to be cour­te­ous and kind to all peo­ple. Some make it impos­si­ble to be kind and cour­te­ous to them.
Whenever those occa­sions arose those were dealt with with the full force of the laws.
Despite safe­guards against police abuse, the police must have the pow­er to go after crim­i­nals wher­ev­er they are whether, in a shack in Majestic Gardens or sit­ting in Jamaica house, no one is big­ger than the law.

At the time they inti­mat­ed they intend­ed to mod­ern­ize the JCF I was ecsta­t­ic that a mod­ern police force in Jamaica would be a dri­ving eco­nom­ic engine for our coun­try’s devel­op­ment.
I believed that the sin­gle largest imped­i­ment to the Island’s growth was the bur­geon­ing crime sit­u­a­tion, it remains so today despite what appears to be blind­ness by both polit­i­cal par­ties. It’s not that the par­ties are blind to this fact, both have func­tionar­ies who are crim­i­nals.
What I failed to take into account is that more peo­ple with degrees did not mean a mod­ern police force or a bet­ter police force.
The very same spe­cial treat­ment for some, nepo­tism, polit­i­cal advance­ments and the oth­er non-mer­it based advance­ment prac­tices would remain.
Out of that came a younger cadre of offi­cers who did not see a future for them­selves in the depart­ment, nei­ther did they have the option to leave as some of us had done ear­li­er.

Graft, cor­rup­tion, and gross-crim­i­nal con­duct result­ed in a bad­ly thought out, bad­ly researched piece of leg­is­la­tion which was intend­ed to cor­ral dirty cops.
The inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion of Investigations(INDECOM)the dar­ling of the crim­i­nal class was born.
At the heart of the Act was the desire to sup­pos­ed­ly curb what was char­ac­ter­ized as extra-judi­cial police killings. To its cred­it, the INDECOM Act result­ed in few­er killings by police but not some­thing which law-abid­ing cit­i­zens can cel­e­brate.
Nevertheless, INDECOM and its sup­port­ers point to the drop in police killings as a sign that their meth­ods are indeed bear­ing fruits.The nar­cis­sis­tic over­ly ambi­tious com­mis­sion­er Terrence Williams use those sta­tis­tics to dri­ve home his point while demand­ing more pow­er to go after mem­bers of the police force.
What they do not both­er to men­tion is that while police killings had dropped, crim­i­nals have gone on a killing spree, hav­ing a free hand to do as they please with­out any fear of the police who are scared to do their jobs.

The more edu­cat­ed police brass are not shy about giv­ing inter­views from behind their nice desks in their ful­ly air-con­di­tioned offices replete with mod­ern com­put­ers. Despite the infu­sion of mod­ern ameni­ties the crime rate con­tin­ues to gal­lop out of con­trol.
Nowadays it is clear the coun­try is in seri­ous trou­ble much more than the peo­ple real­ize. The police whether through lack of effec­tive train­ing or fear, are unable to effect a sim­ple arrest.
Every arrest becomes a major spec­ta­cle with crowds jeer­ing and threat­en­ing the arrest­ing officer/s.Most shock­ing­ly are the cas­es where one or two officer/​s strug­gle with a sus­pect who is vio­lent­ly resist­ing while one or more offi­cers stand by total­ly dis­in­ter­est­ed.

Am I to believe that the kha­ki-clad offi­cers bound behind their desks do not peruse social-media? Are you telling me they do not see these egre­gious acts of assault being vis­it­ed on the younger men of the depart­ment? Are they blind to these acts of indis­ci­pline when offi­cers fail to sup­port each oth­er in effect­ing arrests?
How can they not see the dan­ger to the younger offi­cers who are in most instances sur­round­ed by vio­lent crowds egging on the sus­pects even as these young offi­cers car­ry out their law­ful duties?
What kind of police force throws it’s own to the wolves and the rav­en­ous dogs which now seem to make up the Jamaican soci­ety?
Where is the com­mis­sion­er of police?
Where is the police fed­er­a­tion on this.?

It’s only a mat­ter of time before some­one grabs a cop’s gun and seri­ous­ly wound or kill offi­cers as they do their jobs.
Oh wait, it recent­ly hap­pened in front of the Olympic Gardens Police sta­tion, though slight­ly dis-sim­i­lar, the very sta­tion in which sev­er­al offi­cers lost their lives to maraud­ing ter­ror­ists in the 1980’s.
Every sus­pect wants to engage in a fight with cops, what are the cops going to do about it? They can be heard say­ing yu can’t du mi nut­ten, yu can’t shoot mi”.
They know that the INDECOM Act is a crime enhance­ment law and they are tak­ing full advan­tage of it.
The senior Officers from those at 103 Old Hope Road right on down are quite will­ing to throw them to the wolves for a glass of rum. And the Federation is worse than a neutered mon­grel, much bark no bite.
Nevertheless, the police must take some of the blame, every police offi­cer is trained in effec­tive­ly han­dling a bel­liger­ent sus­pect.
It’s rather sim­ple …

SEQUENCE

(1) You are under arrest place your hands behind your back!
Suspect refus­es.
(2) Physically grab him/​her, to the ground you go,( every offi­cer on scene involved), if enough offi­cers, oth­ers make sure that bystanders main­tain a safe dis­tance for offi­cer safe­ty.
(3) Quickly cuff and place sus­pect in the vehi­cle.
(4) Any per­son who active­ly got in the way of, inter­fered with or coun­seled the accused to resist must then be sub­ject­ed to 1 – 2 & 3.
Use force com­men­su­rate with resis­tance. The laws are clear you have the right to do your jobs with­out being attacked or hurt.
Do your job cor­rect­ly and if they want it to give them the phone num­ber to INDECOM.
Make the damn arrest with author­i­ty they will know you are not play­ing around.