Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Editorial | Beyond cops’ disability

Published:Saturday | June 22, 2019 | 12:26 AM

Inspector Rohan Brown’s story, published earlier this week, is not the kind of news item that motivates social-media trolls to hit the share button, which would take it viral.

Brown is a policeman who was retired from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) after an accident that impaired his vision and caused him to be away from work for extended periods.

Blind but determined to serve his country, Brown learnt how to live with his disability. He attended the Jamaica School for the Blind and learnt to use Braille and became computer-literate.

He again tried to enlist in the JCF. But the recruiters were not ready for someone with such grit and determination. It seemed like the JCF had no place for him. It took a visit to then commissioner of police, Lucius Thomas, for him to get back into the force.

Brown, now a detective inspector, has enjoyed a series of promotions, which suggests that he continues to prove his worth to the force.

Some people earn their place in history because of extraordinary accomplishments, while others are celebrated for the way in which they have handled their misfortune.

Detective Inspector Brown’s story of courage is worth repeating and should be told to young people to demonstrate to them how one can survive even when the odds are stacked against them.

We remember another Brown whose name will forever be linked to police courage and survival. We refer to the late Superintendent Dr Ivan Brown, from western Jamaica, who was attacked by a suspect who severed both his arms.

Despite the violence of the assault, Brown continued to serve after being fitted with prosthetics, and for years he was an inspiration within the JCF and to audiences across the world. His last assignment was superintendent in charge of community relations in Area One.

We highlight these two cases not knowing for sure whether the JCF has a policy that guarantees the delivery of fair treatment to disabled or injured officers. It is necessary to have a clearly defined set of rules, for without a definite policy, spur-of-the-moment decisions on a case-by-case basis may be unevenly handled. We submit that such a policy ought to address the treatment of officers with disability as it relates to recruitment, deployment, appraisals and dismissals.

BETTER LIGHT

These two cases cited by us prove that it’s the ability of the members that ought to count and not their limitations, which, as we can see, do not prevent them from making their contribution to society.

In the current climate of negativism, it’s imperative to allow the limelight to shine on some positive happenings and for coverage around these stories to linger for a while.

Police news is almost exclusively about what has gone wrong in society, often exposing the worst kinds of human beings who walk among us. We feel certain that at this point, Jamaica needs to hear more positive stories highlighting the courage and compassion that are happening across our country.

There used to be very active citizens police groups that offered support to members of the JCF. Now they should be expanding that work to show the police in a better light.

We are not here suggesting covering-up of bad deeds, or any kind of obfuscation. When the police are bad, we bash them; similarly, we ought to celebrate them when they do well.