The New Today

Letters

Law enforcement officers should protect and serve

My heroes are those who risk their lives and give yeoman services every day to protect our world in making it a better place for all to live in.

Our Educators, Police, Nurses and Doctors likewise are the unsung heroes living among us in the various communities.

Despite the animosity that exists between the civilian population and law enforcement officers, they’re there to do their job as enforcers of the law and therefore (it must be done with evenhandedness) and not in an abusive or hostile manner that would make civilians spew hatred for these officers.

When law enforcement officers overstep their bound and start abusing the power that was invested in them, it sets a bad precedent and that kind of awful and loutish behaviour shall not be tolerated and such officers must be “REPRIMANDED” because of their actions because they’re putting the RGPF into disrepute.

Recently, we saw a video circulating on social media, with an officer brandishing his firearm – apparently the officer was engaged in a heated altercation with a civilian, the other officers who were present on the scene, were seen in a scuffle, and it was done in an attempt to restraint their agitated colleague.

When we see such distasteful behaviour happening within our communities, we know for a fact “that we’ve reached a very dangerous level as it relates to policing.

I heard a lot of negative comments from those on social media comparing the situation with North American countries and making horrendous statements like “if the civilian was in America he would’ve been dead.”

America is a deeply racist country and racial profiling is big on their agenda. To be honest, the only killings that we see taking place is the killing of black men.

Grenada on the other hand is a close-knit community where everyone knows each other or somebody is related some way or the other – therefore there’s no need for this high level of hostility towards our own people.

There are better ways of handling or defusing situations and Superintendent Vannie Curwen is a shining example and he’s someone RGPF officers can learn from, while taking note of how, he defused the Gouyave protest and he was very diplomatic in his approach.

Police officers are there to keep the peace likewise protect and serve the people of this nation.

There were recent disturbing reports of officers being attacked and injured by projectiles from angry mobs at “River Sallee Saraca”. These vigilantes were in defiant of the lawmen who were doing their job.

All of this unfortunate incident happened because of the organisers non-observance and this goes to show how disrespectful these individuals are towards rule of law.

I can only describe what transpired as audacious and impertinent behaviour that warrants an investigation because there’s no room for lawlessness and lawless behaviours.

For many decades civilians haven’t always enjoyed good relationships between themselves and police officers. And it’s an aged old issue that has been brewing for years. The bad blood and broken relationships came about as a result of a few bad officers within the ranks of the force.

My observation over the years is as follow: Many people tend to paint the entire police force with one broad brush and all officers as being bad. But this is the wrong perception because not all officers are bad, corrupt, abusive or irresponsible.

The narrative of painting everyone as being bad needs to change but first there must be some fostering of better relationships between civilians and law enforcement officers.

Like every other policing institution within the Caribbean, Latin America and world at large, RGPF isn’t immune to such bad behaviour from officers despite the intense and rigorous training. Almost all institutions have bad and good individuals.

Although it doesn’t mean that we should condone those bad behaviour, we have to learn to accept that we’re all imperfect beings but those that step out of their bound need to be reprimanded.

I would like for civilians and police officers to foster better relationships because when we learn to coexist peacefully our country will be a safer place for all to live in.

RGPF, I would like to see more community policing likewise new recruits need to go out there and introduce themselves to the community because people need to know that police officers are our friends too. That’s why it’s important to foster better relationships with civilians.

There’s still hope and the damages can be repaired that was done over the years because it’s time to foster better relationships.

I’m recommending an RGPF day where people in various communities can come and meet and greet the people. Officers in turn, can show civilians what they do and how they function.

Let’s not forget the stalwarts of RGPF especially those who laid down a solid foundation. Honorary mention to Colonel Nester Ogilvie, Retired Chief of Police Winston James and James Clarkson – these are the men whom I admired and reverenced with great respect because they’ve transformed the RGPF under their leadership and guidance.

Brian J.M. Joseph