Training our Police Officers

I am an avid reader of the newspaper, as I find it stimulating and calming. I don’t really have a favorite news outlet, but I mostly read The Jamaica Observer Online. One day I came across an article, written by their staff reporter Alicia Sutherland, about the deacon in Mandeville, who murdered a student at The Northern Caribbean University, in the same parish. The crime and the details of the crime were very gruesome and disturbing. I also found the way in which the police handled the investigation more disturbing than the crime itself. Why? According to the article the police visited the accused house on more than one occasion and the individual was not present. Days later the accused was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide.http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/front-page/killer-deacon-dead-mandeville-residents-express-relief-regret_143630

My problem with the police’s role in the investigation is an issue that I find to be consistent in a lot of criminal investigations. The issue I am speaking of, is I don’t believe there was enough due diligence on the part of the police. I believe they should have assigned officers at the location of the accused to keep watch in the event that he would return to his house. This would’ve allowed them to apprehend the suspect, rather than leaving the property without surveillance, which in turn resulted in the suspect returning to his residence and committing suicide. This prompted me to research requirements necessary for recruitment to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, as well as the training they undergo. I was not able to find much information, as government websites only outline the basics. This was very frustrating, but we will talk about that another time. I was able to gather some information from an information website called My Island Jamaica. The website outlined the relevant documents and forms of identification required for each applicant. It further stated that applicants will need to undergo an entrance test, physical assessment, background check, medical tests and psychological tests. As it relates to educational qualifications, they are required to have at minimum of four CXC/GCE/CSEC passes. There is no other requirement for applicants who are seeking to become a member of The Jamaica Constabulary Force. https://www.my-island-jamaica.com/what-are-the-requirements-to-become-a-police-officer-in-jamaica.html

Based on the information gathered and the actions of the police during the investigation of the “killer deacon”, I found myself wondering if the training our police officers are receiving is sufficient. Do we need to upgrade the qualification requirements for our police officers? Here are Sharla’s Thoughts.

I firmly believe that we need to upgrade the qualification requirements for our police officers. One qualification that I believe ALL police officers should have is that of a certificate/diploma/degree in Criminal Psychology. Why? Criminal Psychology is “the study of the wills, thoughts, intentions and reactions of criminals and all that partake in criminal behavior.” A Criminal Psychology qualification will ensure that our police officers are properly qualified to investigate crimes. This qualification will allow them to effectively and efficiently investigate crimes and increase their arrest rate, which in turn results in a decrease in the crime rate. They will also understand better how a criminal thinks, which will enhance their investigative skills. As I always say “if you want to catch a criminal, you have to think like a criminal.”

Our police officers also need to watch more criminal shows and crime dramas on television. One of my favorite crime dramas is CSI. I enjoy watching CSI and it teaches you why and how criminals commit crimes. It also teaches the different ways that investigators can investigate crimes. Though the show is mostly fiction, there are some true elements that will be helpful to our police officers. Crime dramas, like CSI, will provide them with tips on how they can capture criminals. Look at this way, a lot of the crimes committed in these dramas are similar to the ones being committed by real life criminals. We could easily conclude from this, that it is possible that the criminals are getting their knowledge on how to commit crimes from these television shows. In the same way our police officers can gain knowledge from these shows.

My final thought is that our police officers need to be enrolled in Continual Customer Service Training. Why is this training necessary? Many of our police officers are not able to communicate properly with citizens on a daily basis. This inability to communicate has led to a lot of confusion, frustration, mistrust and lack of information. Continual Customer Service Training will provide them with our officers with the necessary tools, that will allow for better communicate with citizens. This will make their jobs easier as they will be able to gather information and take witness statements more effectively and efficiently. Communication between the police and citizens is vital if we are to rid the country of this monster we call crime.

If we truly want this country to be better, then we must ensure that we put all measures in place, to ensure that the persons who lay their lives on the line so we can be safe every day, are the most qualified and have all the necessary tools to complete their job. It will require more than the basics to get the job done. These are a few of my thoughts, tell me what you think.

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6 thoughts on “Training our Police Officers

  1. Good thoughts but unfortunately not feasible financially. The Jamaica constabulary force is now seen as a place in which youths with no options can actually enroll and get a job. They have don’t have the means of increasing they’re educational qualifications in first place. Plus the Jamaican government is not willing to invest and to give them training to deal with citizens nor sponsored pursuit of higher education outside special cases.

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    1. While this is true, I don’t believe it is not financially feasible. The government can make allotment for this in the budget. If we are to reduce crime the police need more than guns.

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  2. I support Roger’s point that its not financially viable for the government to train all police officers in psychology and criminology. But there are always police officers who have gotten this level of education in the force. Trinity Gardener for example who has his PhD in criminology while a police officers. He is now retired and is a criminal lawyer. The last police commissioner and the present are all very bright and qualified persons. However this prime minister , the Hon. Andrew Holiness has promised to invest more money in scientific policing as in the CIS TV shows. Our police force is so streach as it is, sometimes they are busy preventing crimes as to solving them. However the real crime fighting tool is the involvement of the citizens. They see no evil and speak no evil. This mentality is not saving lives but giving kudus to criminals . we need to play our part and stop bad mouthing the police and the government. Its Hippocratical for us to see , hear and know of a crime and the criminals and decide to keep quit and then watch and see if the police can play God. I must commend the minister of National security for the continual putting up of servelance camaras all over the crime hot spots in the cities. That will do some damage to criminals in police investigations. And lastly, we the parents should get rid of our lazy young people and send them out to get jobs. Have a great one

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    1. I understand your point of view and I agree that we do have qualified police officers. As it relates to the involvement of citizens, our police officers must be better communicators and treat our citizens fairly. This is a keep step in getting citizens to see evil and speak on it

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  3. Again its not the police whom should be better communicator to bring the citizens on board. The police force in Jamaica is a little over 10,000 . In my view , the responsiblity of the citizens is separate but inclusive with crime fighting. Its our country, the citizens are the violence producers. We have a duty to stop this madness and if we are not among the people who make crime their jobs, we should join the police to get our country back. So the police should keep the peace and we should hand over the criminals. Remember, let’s stop
    the criticism and start to help with crime fighting for Jamaica land we love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that we should stop the criticism, however as someone who has experienced and witnessed terrible communication on the part of police officers on several occasions it is imperative that they also know how to communicate. It is will take a collaborative effort on the part of the police and the citizens.

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