JIS News

Micky Lord is on a mission to eradicate violence from his community, develop social intervention programmes and educate the persons he serves, so they can be marketable.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Lord works 24 hours to protect the people and to give advice to persons who call on him.
Twenty seven year-old Constable Lord of Gregory Park in St. Catherine is one of the many community police officers working assiduously to make the initiative of community policing work, primarily because of his love for the people.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) recently launched the Community Policing Initiative, a programme where the community and the police will start working together to identify the issues that are causing concern and to resolve them through partnerships.
“I chose community policing because I like to meet and relate with different people and their unique ways. I wanted to be closer to the persons who I serve, interact with them, know what is happening and find out if the job that I am being paid to do is done,” Constable Lord tells JIS News.
Mr. Lord, who operates in the Gregory Park area of St. Catherine South, says he has never had a fancy lifestyle. He explains that before taking up his first love – policing – he endured a lot of hardships, so he is using community policing as a means of encouraging others to do the same.
“I never had a fancy lifestyle. I had to work to assist myself to go to school. My mother could only afford two days lunch money and fare, so I had to take that money and buy and sell stuff on a Saturday. I would then earn enough money to take me through the entire week,” he says, adding that he sold scandal bags for $5 each at the fish market.
He explains that he joined the JCF in 2003 after he decided that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of the Jamaican people.
According to Mr. Lord, community policing started for him when he was based at the now defunct Community Relations Office, and it was there that he observed strategies that he now employs in the Gregory Park area.
“Being at the Community Relations Office and seeing how the youth club and neighborhood watch worked, I said to myself that it would be good to have a police youth club, because most of the youths are unemployed and walk aimlessly on the roads. I tried to create an environment where we can know them, they can be tutored and sent to training and so the Caymanas Police Youth Club started,” he notes.
The Constable points out that he used various strategies to get persons to attend the club meetings.
“I had to walk and encourage persons to attend the meetings. Following that, I used my vehicle to tell persons, and it [Caymanas Police Youth Club] started about three years ago and we are still going strong,” he adds.
A former student of Christiana Comprehensive High and Knox Community College in Manchester, Mr. Lord says there have been many positive changes.
“We normally target the young persons in the community who operate a particular way and dress in the gangster style, because they are the persons who are really at risk. We also target the persons on the corner and we get them, because 95 per cent of the club is made up mainly of those persons,” he tells JIS News.
However, he notes that it was not smooth sailing for them to join the programme.
“We had problems at first getting them here, so we had to come up with ideas to intrigue them to come to club meetings and we worked on the areas they like, such as music and sports. Persons who would only come to the gate are now a part of the club and they are now outstanding citizens, working in various sectors of the society and doing very well,” Constable Lord says.
“Persons who were at their worst when coming here have become most disciplined.the bleaching [of their bodies] has stopped.we maintain a certain level of discipline that must be upheld, since that kind of teaching is not taking place in their homes,” he adds.
According to the young Constable, this situation is so because many parents have children very young and are unable to teach their children certain values.
“The parents have children so young, they themselves do not have the training needed to teach the children certain things and so we [community police officers] have to try and see how best we can diffuse that mentality. Certain things that they should know, we try to assist them because since most of the parents are unemployed and fend by whatever means, they do not have the time to listen to their children,” he points out.
Mr. Lord, who patrols some of the more depressed communities such as Meadowvale, Walkers Avenue, Portmore Villa and Dennis Avenue in the Gregory Park area, dismisses the notion of many that community policing is ‘soft’ policing.
“The issue of community policing being soft could not be farther from the truth, you can’t have soft policing in the inner city, that cannot be,” he says.
“While patrolling, we talk to persons as it relates to offences and other issues, but if it’s a situation beyond that, we have to take action. At the end of the day when you are in communities you can’t have soft policing, because you have to maintain a certain level of composure knowing that anything can happen at any minute,” the Constable tells JIS News.
For Mr. Lord, a typical day of community policing has no beginning and no end, because residents call at any time for assistance.
“We can be at work and we are ready to go home, but somebody will call with an issue or to attend a community meeting and we have to change our schedules,” he explains.
“It may be a dance, but you go and show your presence and to indicate to them that the police is willing to collaborate with everybody to make community policing work and sometimes you hold the mike and give some tips.so although we would want the day to start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m., it doesn’t work like that at all,” he adds.
Constable Lord says the experiences have been many since community policing was introduced.
“Although the initiative officially started a few months ago, it has not been different from what I have been doing for the past four years – in the streets talking to persons, assisting them as best as possible and seeing how best we can sort out the social problems,” he explains.
“I have had many good and bad experiences, which include embracement of the police. People are happy to see us there on an every day basis.before we could only go there in our spare time but luckily we have some time now that is allocated to us. We really want community policing, because once you put enough work in it, trust me it will make a whole lot of difference,” the Constable says.
According to Mr. Lord, the responses to the initiative have been very good. “Persons are happy to have us in their communities. They are saying that it should have been in place a long time ago and they want it to continue for as long as ever. The residents are embracing it and we are trying to ensure that we don’t let them down. We try and let them know that we are their friends and together we can eliminate crime and violence from that area by whatever means possible,” he tells JIS News.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, John McLean, who heads the Community Safety and Security Branch, says that the new initiative will definitely improve relations with the police.
“The relationship and the confidence in the police and the community will develop very quickly in those communities where it is happening and I think in the longer term other things will happen, which will lead to improvement of policing services and [although] some of them may take months to a year, things will start to happen and the quality of policing and community policing relations will improve,” he told JIS News.

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