Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Cops Go Beyond the Call of Duty ... Help Wandering Elderly man

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Female cops, from left, woman Sergeant Petrolyn Blake-Tomlinson and Corporal Margaret Simms-Williams.

Mandeville, Manchester:

With a number of police personnel across the country berated constantly for their seemingly inhumane actions toward civilians, there is a breath of fresh air when others are found to be willing to go beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable members of society.

It was an ordinary Friday afternoon for woman Sergeant Petrolyn Blake-Tomlinson and Corporal Margaret Simms-Williams as they conducted their daily routine at the Mandeville Police Station. Little did they know that an upcoming case would have had such an impact on them.

An 80-year-old man, believed to be senile and who had travelled from St Thomas, was brought into the station by cops who were on patrol. "I saw him sitting on a bench in the corridor and I began questioning him to clarify the information I had got," said Corporal Simms-Williams. With uncertainty as to how he had got so far, the corporal and the sergeant immediately made checks for a missing persons report filed and were successful.

 

gathering information

 

"Fortunately, too, as we were in the process of gathering information, a man walked into the station, saw the man, and exclaimed that he had travelled on the bus with him to Mandeville, but during the drive, the man kept expressing his need to go home ... . We soon established that he was senile and had wandered off," said Blake-Tomlinson.

The Morant Bay police were contacted and the names and telephone numbers for the man's sons were sought. "When we made contact with the sons, they were so relieved because, though their father had a habit of wandering, this was the first time he had ever wandered so far."

Though happy for their father's safety, the sons were unable to pick up their father right away and so the cops made all the necessary arrangements to house him for five days. "We tried getting him into a home, but they were all full. Eventually, we had to set up a little bed for him. We got him cleaned up and Constable Morgan ensured he was clothed. Our hearts just went out and we did all we could," stated Blake-Tomlinson.

With the need to ensure his total care, an ex-police who runs a charitable organisation, Yvonne Townsend, was called in to lend her assistance.

"When I heard about this and saw how well they treated this man, I was overjoyed at this welcoming change. I mean, they went all out: they gave him breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They got the assistance of other police officers to secure the gates so he wouldn't wander off. They even allowed me to use the barrack bathroom (police bathroom) to clean him up. I just really have to commend them for their efforts, because you certainly don't see this happening every day," said Townsend.

 

home away from home

 

With contentment and the feeling of being at a home away from home, Townsend said the man could be seen sweeping areas of the station and expressing his love for this new-found place.

"I told all the police that, for their act of kindness, they have all been inducted in the hall of 'Friends in Need Charity Organisation'. I'm still amazed at how well they took this man's interest to heart," she added.

One of the sons, on picking up their father, expressed gratitude for the persons who took care of his father.

rural@gleanerjm.com