Sunday 18 November, 2018

‘Take to the streets,” top NYPD officer urges senior Jamaican cops

Senior police officers in khaki uniforms numbering as many as the other ranks of security personnel at this location during a flare-up in a section of the Mountain View Avenue area of Eastern Kingston late last year.

Senior police officers in khaki uniforms numbering as many as the other ranks of security personnel at this location during a flare-up in a section of the Mountain View Avenue area of Eastern Kingston late last year.

A top New York Police Department (NYPD) officer has urged senior members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to regularly go out and spend time working in the streets in order to motivate the entire force to more significantly curb crime on the island.

Deputy Chief of the NYPD, Ruel Stephenson, issued the challenge at a recent strategy retreat which the JCF held.  

The visiting officer, who was a special guest of National Security Minister, Robert Montague, said the senior officers must serve with demonstrated integrity, and tackle crime mainly through the building of good police/citizen relationships at the community level.

“There is no room in policing for corruption. Use the community as a tool to change perception,” urged Stephenson, noting that his observations in Jamaica have also provided him with some lessons to take home.

“This was one of the most important parts of my time here in Jamaica,” he said of the observation of limited top-level supervision on the streets.

“I have learnt so much that I can take back. You can create change by starting with little things. Small things matter,” the visiting cop added in terms of his strategic interaction that was appropriate for public dissemination.

Of note in terms of the JCF, for which a search is on for a new commissioner, following the recent departure of the last Commissioner, George Quallo, is that two of the potential applicants for the job – retired Senior Superintendent, Reneto Adams and former Deputy Commissioner, Mark Shields – have both clearly declared the need for top police managers to be regularly on the frontline if the crime monster is to be tamed in Jamaica.

Adams has long declared, and reiterated recently, his position that if appointed commissioner, he would set an example by becoming the first top cop locally to operate virtually from the streets.

This is while Shields, in a 10-point crime-fighting plan he recently released for use by the next commissioner, declared that police managers should be made to “lead by example and manage their staff. There is no place for desk-bound senior officers; they should be on the streets, providing visible leadership to their subordinates. If they are unwilling to lead from the front, the new commissioner must find real leaders who are prepared to take up the challenge. “