If you ever donned the uniform of a police officer, you know what it feels like to see, or hear of a colleague getting cut down in a hail of bullets. You feel something only the slain officer’s family members feel, because the police fraternity is a family.
That is not to say that conscientious members of the general public do not feel the sorrow we feel at these killings, it is just different.
The once-revered concept of Esprit de corps encapsulated that camaraderie that those who place their lives on the line feel toward each other.
It comes not from any sinister dark place with mal-intent to cover wrongs, it comes from the knowledge that the person next to you is entrusted to protect and defend my life with his or hers.
It is a sacred trust that we all placed in each other.
Over the years the institution of policing has suffered immensely as a result of negative publicity, much of it earned, some of it unwarranted.
Today, the police are undergoing more scrutiny as a result of bad actors. In the United States and other countries, getting people to focus on the nobility of the discipline is even more difficult to do in this distorted environment.
As police across the globe fall short of their own goals to serve and protect, citizens are more and more divorced from empathizing with police officers.
Notwithstanding, those of us who serve/served are significantly impacted when officers are cut down in service to the public.
As a former officer of the JCF who was shot in the line of duty, I understand all too well the challenges our officers face, particularly in a country like Jamaica.
Even with the best equipment and training, remunerations, and support, nothing can fully protect police officers from the dangers that come with the job.
With inadequate remunerations, poor and outdated training, & a lack of full governmental support, Jamaican police officers are at double the risk, double the exposure & at double the peril if they make a mistake.
As we grieve the loss of two officers, and the serious injury suffered by two others, including Superintendent Leon Clunis, lessons must be learned from this sad event.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force can hardly depend on government, regardless of which party forms the government. As such, it is critical that these events are used by the department to develop best practices to change how the department does business.
I have consistently argued that the training that our police officers are receiving is not nearly up to standard, and in particular, is insufficient for the challenges Jamaican police officers face.
Of critical import is the way the department operates in stops and starts, and gets into valleys of comfortability when there is wane in serious incidences.
Police departments can ill afford to rest on their laurels. The job of developing new techniques and strategies is critical if they are to be on par with the criminal underworld, much less be steps ahead of them.
Under no circumstance should the police let down their guard, that goes for senior officers of the force, many of whom go out in that khaki uniform and pretend that gunshots are repelled by the uniform.
Some senior cops go out without a weapon and in some case are seen with a swagger cane, no actual accouterments of the trade.….…..I am yet to understand what universe they are living in.
Do members of the gazetted ranks believe they are no longer police officers? Or do they think that their seniority status insulates them from harm? I make no judgments about what went down at that house in Horizon Park, on that fateful morning, sufficing to say that whatever tact those officers took should become a part of the police training manual’s what not to do.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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