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Spontaneous applause and cheers erupted inside the Grand Ballroom of the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on October 31, as Corporal Oneil Patterson was named the LASCO Police Officer of the year 2012/2013.

Corporal Patterson, who works in Area 4, Kingston Eastern Division won from a field of nine competitors. He walked away with the top prize of $200,000 and the LASCO Champion Trophy.

First -runner up was Detective Sergeant Sheldon Coulson of the Criminal Investigation Branch, who received $100,000 and other prizes; while Sergeant Philmour Robinson of Area Two, St. Ann Division, was second runner-up. He received $50,000 plus other prizes.

Beaming with pride, Corporal Patterson thanked the organisers of the competition and all those who contributed to his development. He pledged his commitment to continue to carry out his duties with pride and dignity.

“First of all, I want to thank the Lord, who has been blessing me; my family; my community in Resource, South Manchester; the communities in East Kingston that I serve; my co-workers in Kingston Eastern Division, especially those at the Community Safety and Security Section, and all those who have been praying for me, supporting me. Thanks for the vote of confidence and the encouragement. You have helped to sustain me,” Corporal Patterson said.

He was gracious to his fellow nominees, stating that  “we are all top cops.” He had special commendations for Sergeant Robinson, whom he said, is also from Resource, “attended the same primary school, and went into the police training school on the same day in the same car,” as himself.   

Founder and Executive Chairman of the LASCO Affiliated Companies, Hon. Lascelles Chin, said his company remains committed to supporting the police force. He noted that each year, the company commits in excess of $5 million on the Police of The Year Awards.

Mr. Chin commended the members of the force for maintaining law and order during the passage of Hurricane Sandy last week, noting that “many continued for days after the hurricane and were away from their families at a time when we were with our families”.

He stated that the business sector must be grateful for the role the police plays in providing a secure environment for their businesses even in times of disaster. He also encouraged police personnel “to continue to serve with the highest level of professionalism at all times and to recoil from corruption”.

Head of Corporate Services at the Ministry of National Security, Angela Buchanan, also congratulated the awardees and encouraged the Police Officer of the Year, “to remain steadfast and true to your oath as a police officer and to continue to serve your organisation and your country with distinction”.

Guest speaker was Managing Partner at law firm Samuda & Johnson, Milton Samuda, who stated that the police should be provided with the necessary resources to do their job.

The LASCO Police Officer of the Year Awards Programme is in its 10th year and was initiated to publicly acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). Honourees are selected based on their work ethics, their involvement in communities and other social initiatives, professional knowledge, the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and their knowledge of national and international affairs.