ACP Kevin Blake - The Man Behind the Post
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Mandeville, Manchester:Assistant Commi-ssioner of Police Kevin Blake, like many others, didn't have a passion for the police force. He lived for computer science and technological advancement, but fate would soon find a merger of the two areas and create a force to be reckoned with.
Blake, a born and bred Kingstonian, spent a significant portion of his early life in Olympic Gardens, St Andrew, and later moved to Portmore, St Catherine. While there, he attended the Charlemount High School and later left to join the fold of the Mico Teachers' College, not because he wanted to become a teacher, but out of a need to have tertiary education.
"I had applied for UWI (University of the West Indies) and UTech (University of Technology), but in those days getting into a university wasn't as easy as it is now, but as soon as I got accepted to UWI, I left Mico before completing the diploma."
Blake left the University of the West Indies with a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics and a masters degree in computer-based management information systems.
"During the period of school, I worked with National Commercial Bank (NCB) at the computer centre for a number of years. I then left NCB and started to work with a software development company called Decision Support System and later, I started doing mainly freelance programming/software development."
The assistant commissioner, who was very instrumental in getting the hotel sector technologically ready for the Y2K and other aspects of their growth, made an application for the graduate entry to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) after completing his degree, but was told his application was too late.
"I created the software systems used by several entities such as Dolphin Cove and Chukka Cove, but I was seeking to find a way to not just merge technology with tourism, but also technology with security ... and though I was not yet accepted to the JCF, I started creating a software to manage crime ... ."
With much need to have the software put to work, Blake contacted former Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington who was at that time a commanding officer in St James. Ellington, after hearing of the software, affirmed its implementation immediately.
"When I was doing the implementation, I used to fly down to Montego Bay and spend days with the police, understanding how they operate in order to build the system as contextually relevant to what they do as possible - and a number of persons thought I was a police from Kingston."
Still having no thought that he would become a member of the JCF, Blake received a letter years after implementing the software, notifying him of a new graduate-entry level opening and enquiring about his interest.
With the experience gained from being around police personnel, Blake took up the opportunity and started what he describes as a rigorous exercise.
"Contrary to what persons believe, I worked with the bank for a number of years, and to get the job it was based on your interview and if qualified. Within the police force, it's completely different," Blake told Rural Xpress.
Blake, who successfully completed the requirements for entry as an assistant superintendent, spent one year in operations and six months in St James. He returned to training school for two years and was officially deployed to Kingston Central for four months, then later took up post at the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) before being appointed assistant commissioner of police for Area 3.
"When I was told initially that I would take up this new post, I wondered about what good I had done to deserve this honour," said a cheerful Blake
"I had always loved operations and though I spent such a long time at NIB, I really wanted to get back into operational policing."
Terse in words unless a healthy respectful debate is being had, Blake says he is looking forward to working to better the MIS, the efficiency of the police force, and the partnership between police and citizens.
"I love a challenge; it drives me and, coupled with what I will contribute and what already exists, the organisation which I believe is ready, will continue to make great strides," ended Blake.