Ellington says aspiring young cops should not be deterred
Without a shadow of doubt, the recent deaths of three police officers has played on the emotions of citizens right across Jamaica.
And these emotions are more strongly felt by their families and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). Former Police Commissioner Owen Ellington advises youngsters aspiring to become prt of the JCF to not be demotivated by the killings.
"Nothing like this should deter a young, promising, and well-intentioned citizen from joining the police force and offering service to his fellow countrymen," Ellington told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Among the deceased police officers is Superintendent Leon Clunis, 52, one of four cops who were shot during a police operation in Horizon Park, Spanish Town, St Catherine, on June 12.
The other two officers that died are Detective Corporal Dane Biggs and Constable Decardo Hylton. They died the same day.
Realities of the job
Ellington, who served in the JCF for 34 years, says beginners would have gone through various steps to get them acclimated to the realities of the job.
"He is not going to join the force with his eyes closed. He will take advantage of the training and the information, guidance, the advice and counsel of seniors, and in the conduct of his duty, he should always be careful and take the necessary steps to protect himself," he said. "Unless he can preserve himself, he can't assist others. So just bear that in mind."
He adds, however, that policing often puts officers in very risky situations.
"The circumstances of his (Clunis') injuries which led to his death just underscore the ever-present danger that the police face in the performance of their duty. That is something that the rest of the population should constantly bear in mind."
He says that is the Jamaican reality, where crime and violence is rampant.
"In our high-crime, high-violence environment, it is a constant threat. There are some environments that are much safer for policing, but Jamaica is among the most unsafe. So it's a reality of Jamaican policing, and I think most officers put the uniform on with that in mind every day," he related.
Ellington says the death of Biggs and Hylton was a hard hit, and the recent death of Clunis is no easier.
"It's a tragic situation, obviously. It's not just tragic for the police force, but his family as well and the entire society. The commissioner, the entire membership and his family, they have my sympathy," he told THE WEEKEND STAR.
"They are in my thoughts and prayers."