Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Cops want residents' help

Published:Wednesday | September 28, 2016 | 9:32 AMArthur Hall

A commitment to making Jamaica a safe place for residents and visitors alike keeps them on the job, even at the risk of their health.

But the police in Montego Bay, St James, are desperate for help from the residents as they seek to tamp down the crime impacting the parish.

“It is very, very disheartening to see [that] the very persons you are trying to protect are the ones who don’t want you in their areas. They are the ones who are showing the aggression to you. But you have to remain professional and remember that you joined to protect and serve,” said Constable Gary McKenzie of the police Area One headquarters yesterday.

He noted that the St James police seized at least 100 guns each year, but based on the level of illegal activities in the parish, the criminals can buy guns and most of them gravitate towards the high-powered weapons.

CONSENT NEEDED

Now the police want help from residents to get the guns and the killers who are squeezing the triggers almost daily with deadly impact.

“People cannot be policed without their consent, and we need your assistance in any way possible. We know that you know the people who are involved; we have no doubt that, in some instances, it is your relatives, but we have seen on occasions where relatives of criminals have been gunned down.

“We are saying, if you have relatives, friends or neighbours who are involved, you need to speak up, because today it is someone else, tomorrow it might be you,” warned Corporal Nicholas Shorter, also of the Police Area One headquarters.

Shorter noted that murders have increased the workload of the police based in St James, a fact which was endorsed by veteran Detective Sergeant Michael Chisholm.

“There was a time when, by myself, I had 36 cases. Now, with almost 200 murders in St James, as the detective gets a case he has to shift to another case,” said Chisholm.

He told a Gleaner special investigative team that while he has learnt to cope with the stress on the job, based on his level of commitment to the people of Jamaica, he still has issues at times.

“Just last month, the whole of mi head back started to swell, and when I went to my doctor he said it was a level of stress,” said Chisholm.

His colleague, Detective Corporal Alton Lowrie, shared a similar tale.

“I went and tested my blood pressure a few months ago and the doctor said to me. ‘Man, how you still standing up? You should drop long time,’” said Lowrie.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com