- Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB), Bishop Dr. Gary Welsh, tells JIS News that traditionally, police officers are known for foot patrol, serving summons and arresting people, but that image is being transformed.
- The LASCO/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Top Cop awards programme is assisting to reshape the image of the Force, while publicly recognising model officers in the ranks of Constable and Sergeant, for their professionalism and dedication.
- Model officer, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo, emerged as the LASCO/JCF Top Cop of the year 2015/16.
The LASCO/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Top Cop awards programme is assisting to reshape the image of the Force, while publicly recognising model officers in the ranks of Constable and Sergeant, for their professionalism and dedication.
Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB), Bishop Dr. Gary Welsh, tells JIS News that traditionally, police officers are known for foot patrol, serving summons and arresting people, but that image is being transformed.
“An opportunity has been offered to us by LASCO, which is the kind of vehicle that has helped us to showcase the talents of our men and women. Over the years this competition has helped us to engage officers in community-based projects, which give them an opportunity to display their skills and give the public a chance to see the work and worth of the police officers, outside of the traditional sense,” he says.
The Assistant Commissioner notes that the feedback from the public has been excellent since the introduction of the programme (in 2000).
“The comments we are getting are all skewed towards wow, we did not know the police had this talent and we did not know the police were engaged in this kind of community-based work. It is very encouraging,” he says.
Assistant Commissioner Welsh tells JIS News that the CSSB is engaged in community work throughout the year, “but we use this opportunity offered by LASCO to zero in on the top performers of the various Divisions and Formations. We begin at ground level where officers are recognized with particular skills and are nominated at the Divisional level.”
The criteria to be eligible for nomination are based on work ethics, the working relationship with the public and team members, professional knowledge, ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, knowledge of national and international affairs as well as involvement in communities and other social initiatives.
Recently, Corporal Kimaryo Pinnock of the Motorised Patrol Division was announced the LASCO/JCF Top Cop of the year 2016/17.
“He was a clear winner. He proved that while giving his acceptance speech. He is an excellent choice, well researched, eloquent and confident,” ACP Welsh says.
Another model officer, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo, who emerged as the LASCO/JCF Top Cop of the year 2015/16, scored big for her one year reign, with many impactful initiatives.
“Ava has long been a community-based officer, so the programmes that helped her to emerge as the winner in her year, is a result of her doing them for many years,” the Assistant Commissioner tells JIS News.
He describes Sergeant Lindo as a natural community-based policing practitioner, and notes that her influence is going to be critical in helping the new top cop and the other 11 finalists to execute their job over the next year.
“She has been an excellent ambassador of the JCF and we laud her for that,” ACP Welsh says.
For Sergeant Lindo, the work she did during her reign was influenced by a personal experience.
“The platform I used is connected to the fact that I was abused as a child, and I have always wanted to say to children – no one has the right to abuse you or violate you – and to parents, pay attention to your children,” she tells JIS News.
Her experience prompted her to coin tips and pointers from the ‘Child Care and Protection Act’ as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’, which were printed on exercise books, geared toward helping children to know their basic rights and for parents to help protect them.
“I have distributed over 4,000 exercise books in schools over the one year period. I did an all island school tour where books were distributed to students. I chose the most rural schools to visit, the ones that people outside of the community do not know and this too was very impactful. Usually when I visit these schools we have pep talks about good and bad touch and what it means. I also encourage them to tell someone if something has happened or is happening to them,” she says.
The 2015/16 LASCO/JCF top cop also went overseas to address children on their rights as well as to distribute more of her ‘I am a Child…’ exercise books.
Between March 14 and 18, Sergeant Lindo was part of a seven-member delegation to undertake an Intervention Strategies for Domestic and Gender Based Violence course at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Given the focus during her reign, she was asked to deliver a motivational speech to students from a middle school.
“I got the opportunity to help them understand that as children there are some rights that are common to all children – they have the right to life and no one has the right to violate them,” she says.
In addition to her work with children, Sergeant Lindo has expanded her community workshop programme, which has benefitted over 1,200 principals, teachers and parents.
The workshops address parenting, how to treat youth who are violent and anti-social, and child abuse.
Sergeant Lindo also highlights her partnership with LASCO nurse, Treveen Palmer-Miller, to stage a blood drive to help alleviate the recurring blood shortage in the country.
“It had a far reaching impact on me, because I have AB negative blood type, which is most rare, so to have a blood drive to save lives meant a lot to me. When I heard that one unit of blood can save three lives, I was amazed at that fact. It is like when you have an idea and you think it is small…then when it comes to fruition, you realize how big and impactful it is,” she says.
Sergeant Lindo will continue her work with children through a child safety colouring book in schools.
Brand Manager for LASCO Distributors Limited, Renee Rose, describes Sergeant Lindo as an “exceptional and dedicated individual who goes all out in her endeavours.”
“It has been a pleasure working with her over the year. I do not know where she finds the energy, but she goes above and beyond in her respective duties,” she tells JIS News.