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Police Sergeant Wayne Wallace is an officer on the frontline in Western Jamaica, working to build relationships between the police and residents under his portfolio as sub-officer in charge of Community Safety and Security.
His job is not always easy, he says, but his affable personality combined with the experience of a less-than-ideal upbringing makes it easy for him to connect with residents.
His sixteen-year struggle to realise his dream of joining the ranks of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is a story he also shares regularly while interacting with at-risk youths, hoping it will inspire them to achieve.
“At the age of 14, I started writing my name as Constable Wayne Wallace. I was working on my dream and I was not allowing anybody to take that dream out of my head,” the police sergeant shares with a group of over 70 teenagers at a police youth camp in Montego Bay.
The Trelawny-based cop says that after graduating high school in 1989 and failing to pass a single CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) subject, his dream was in trouble.
“I wanted to become a police but I was not ready for it academically,” he shares.
But he did not give up on his goal.
“I got a hotel work and at the top of my mind I wanted to be a police; I was going to become a police.”
“I stayed there [at the hotel], make the little money and went back to evening class. While working I paid a man to teach me maths,” he reveals.
It took him four attempts before he was successful in passing the police entrance exam. This after sitting the CSEC exams a second time and passing three subjects, which was the minimum requirement for entry in the JCF at the time.
He was drafted for police training in 2004.
“When I entered the JCF I entered with a vision. 2005 when I graduated I said to myself ‘I want to go to whatever [police] division they send me and make a difference as a probationary police’.
When I went and did my probationary exam I got an award for being the most outstanding officer,” he says beaming with pride.
Three years later he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and designated sub-officer in charge of Community Safety and Security.
His second promotion came in 2015 when he was elevated to the rank of sergeant.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you live, what family you come from; what matters is how you live your life. You have to realise your weakness; accept your weaknesses and work on them,” the career officer says.
The JCF Brand
Sergeant Wallace describes the JCF as a brand that he is proud to represent, and one he believes all police officers should guard zealously.
“My duty is to protect the brand and let you want to buy my brand. If I meet you on the street and talk to you and leave you with a smile then I know I have accomplished something,” Sergeant Wallace says.
The corporate strategy of the Jamaica Constabulary Force mandates the employment of community policing in its efforts to fight crime.
This is done through the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB) implemented in all police divisions islandwide.
-By Nedburn Thaffe (firstname.lastname@example.org)