Ready to serve - Newly minted cops join law-enforcement ranks
Keneil Wilson's face was a picture of shock and excitement as he dashed into his father's embrace last Friday at the grounds of the National Police College of Jamaica at Twickenham Park in St Catherine.
The youngster was among the newly minted cops from batches 147 and 148 at the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) passing-out parade and award ceremony.
His father, Wilfred, flew in from the United Kingdom, where he lived, and turned up at his graduation to surprise him.
"No one, including him, knew that I was coming. He is really surprised right now because I told him that I could not make it. He is just seeing me now, and he was shocked and happy. I really could not afford to miss his big day. This is really a very remarkable day," the elder Wilson said.
The doting father said his son had always had an interest in becoming a member of the security force, and he is extremely proud that he is realising his dream.
"I told him that it was his choice and if that was one of his dreams, he should go for it. He wanted to join the army, but then he changed his mind, and here he is today, a police officer. I am extremely proud of him, and I had to be here to tell him that again in person. He is the first of my five children, and he has done himself well," he said.
In the keynote address, Minister of Security Dr Horace Chang charged the young police officers to live up to the expectations of the nation's citizens, colleagues and their superiors.
"Your decision to serve and protect is not just a career choice, it is mission to safeguard the foundation of our society, where public order, justice and security stand as fundamental figures in the country. It is important that you determine from the outset the type of professionals that you are aspiring to be. There are many expectations that you have to be mindful of and manage carefully. There is the expectation that you act swiftly and justly; and there are the expectations of your superiors that you serve, protect and reassure with professionalism," he said.
Chang stated that the police are the guardians of justice and community builders, and the mission extends beyond traditional law enforcement.
"Your role has changed dramatically, and we are a new organisation committed to public safety and good order. As we confront the change in the social economic landscape in Jamaica, some of the most pressing issues that we face include the pervasive of criminal gangs, interpersonal violence, and scamming. These evolving and emerging issues impede economic growth and cause harm to innocent lives. Therefore, we are demanding your unwavering commitment to save lives and enforce the laws of Jamaica," Chang told the graduates.