Wed | Aug 5, 2020

‘It’s a jungle out there’ - On returning home alive, under-pressure cops treasure fatherhood

Published:Monday | June 22, 2020 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Fitzgerald Anderson
Winston Brooks
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Being a policeman and a father of four sometimes proves tough for Constable Fitzgerald Anderson of Specialised Operations in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Anderson said that although he is away from home most of the time, he gets consolation from knowing that he is working for a better future for his children and to make Jamaica safe for all.

“It is kinda difficult to be thinking about home in dangerous situations. Once you go out on patrol, you have to be on alert. The thought process is always to survive and be tactical. It’s a jungle out there,” Anderson said.

“Sometimes, the children call me or drop a voice note which makes me smile, but I have to snap out of it because you are patrolling areas with zinc fences and all those things, and that is dangerous. You might go out but not come back in.”

Anderson credits his supportive wife for being a source of strength to his four children, aged three to 14.

The constable spoke with The Gleaner at a Father’s Day brunch organised by the Non-Geographic Formation No. 2 and the Chaplaincy Services Branch at Harman Barracks. It was held in partnership with Tropical Catering Services Ltd.

Also heaping praise on his wife was Sergeant Winston Brooks, who has been in the JCF for 23 years. Brooks told The Gleaner that his wife plays a big role in stabilising the family while he lives his dream as a cop in the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch.

He has five children – three sons and twin daughters.

“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am in terms of being a father and on the job,” Brooks said of his wife, Karen.

“She works from home, so she has more time with the kids, but I still play my role.”

Corporal Dewie Lyle, of the Mounted Troop Division, manages to juggle police and home responsibilities enough to take at least three of his four children along with him to work sometimes after school. His area of work, he concedes, is less dangerous than Special Ops or Traffic.

The father of four girls – ages six, eight, 13, and 20 – said his children were all wonderful but admitted that he sometimes had to play good cop-bad cop to maintain discipline.

“Sometimes things can be nerve-wracking. Homework is rough. Sometimes they show lack of respect to Mommy until I step in the picture.

“When Mommy talk, it’s like dem laugh. ... Mommy more will get mad and shout. I rarely shout. When I say something, I mean it.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com