Cop reaps success in troubled community
Sergeant Christopher Ward, who heads the Castleton Police Station in St Mary, did not want to toot his own horn, but he beamed with pride when he shared that the 17 communities which the station serves have been murder-free since he took up the post three years ago.
"I was only sent here because there was an issue with shootings and murders in one of the communities called School Hill. I was briefed of the challenges by my commanding officer, and sent here from Annotto Bay. Being a community oriented police officer, he thought I could make a difference. Right away, I came and assessed what was happening in the community," Ward said.
He explained that he and his team found that the problems stemmed from misguided young men who channell their energies in the wrong direction. As a result, they established a number of community interventions, including a police youth club.
"I can tell you, since I'm here for the three-and-a-half years in Castleton, that's my best success story because I've seen people come to my office and speak of the confidence they now have, the sense of security, and we have a better relationship with that community," he said.
Ward served as a district constable for four years, and then transitioned to a police officer for 10 years now. He has reaped great success so far, and he does not plan to stop there. He is currently in the process of implementing even more initiatives to better the areas under his command.
"We invited our pastor and all the justices of the peace here. So, if we get a report of domestic violence and any report of disturbance, we consult with the pastors in those various districts, and ask them to do visitations to those families and give us a follow-up," Ward said.
He added that he and his team also plan to establish neighbourhood watches, more police youth clubs, and more community meetings, where residents can voice all the issues they are having so that the police can have the proper intervention.
Ward said he strongly believes in the power of community intervention initiatives such a police youth clubs, as he has seen solid proof in his success with Castleton.