Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Restructure police force to fight crime says former FBI agent

Published:Sunday | April 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

He was denied the job as Jamaica's police commissioner on two occasions and accepts the decision, but the former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) man, Wilfred Rattigan, is rankled by the seeming lack of appreciation for the contribution he, and others in the diaspora, can make to the island.

Rattigan is also convinced that his proposals to reduce the number of police divisions across the island and to cut the number of persons who make up the Police High Command would be important steps in the fight against crime.

"The part about not being selected, I'm fine with that. But when people say to me, 'boy, dah bredda yah a foreigna, him nuh undastan the culture,' that now, dat a something different," said the 30-year law-enforcement executive and former intelligence officer, with special interest in cybercrimes and online business fraud.

"Culturally, what are you going to tell me is going on in Jamaica, that I don't understand, crime?" Rattigan told The Sunday Gleaner during a recent interview.

"You not telling me anything about crime. me grow up with criminals. Is just by the grace of God and parents and guidance why I didn't pick up a gun and shoot people," added Rattigan, with all the traces of a Jamaican accent despite living in the United States for more than three decades.

"That is the only thing that really gets me upset: when people say that this man yah is a foreigna. My navel string cut and grow yah so," argued the former student of Meadowbrook High School, who spent his teenage years along Maxfield Avenue and Waterhouse in the Corporate Area before migrating to New York at age 17.


Organised crime experience


Rattigan, a graduate of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has experience in transnational organised crime and counter-terrorism in South Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, was invited to address graduates at the University of Technology last week.

He applied for the job as Jamaica's top cop in 2014 but was turned down in favour of Dr Carl Williams, who quit the post in December last year. This year, he was again turned down in favour of now police commissioner George Quallo. Both times, he was not invited to an interview.

Rattigan lives in Maryland with his wife of nine years and his children. he admitted that moving to Jamaica to serve as police commissioner would have been a lonely decision as his family had decided that they would not come.

"They told me, 'if you go, we support you and we love you, but we are not coming. So you are on your own'," said Rattigan with a chuckle.

"But when you get to a stage in life, there are certain things that you are willing to make the sacrifice for. You have to find something that you are passionate about, and I'm passionate about Jamaica," added Rattigan.

He told our news team that he was still willing to offer his services to the Jamaica Constabulary Force in any capacity.

"I would do it for free. I'm all right. I still get my monthly stipend, so I'm not coming here to do this for the money," said Rattigan, who has suggested that the 19 police divisions across the island be reduced to three, one for each county.

He argues that this would improve accountability and allow for a more timely response by police patrols.

Rattigan has also proposed that more resources be allocated to the police for intelligence work but argues that that should only be done after the force has been restructured.

"There are also too many people in the Police High Command. We have to get rid of that. That is the 1870s model," said Rattigan.

"You have to get the police to be more proactive, and that has to be done by restructuring the whole organisation," added the former FBI man.