Dwight Powell: The Christian law enforcement officer
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Affable church leader and policeman Dwight Powell hails from a family of law-enforcement officers and a community he boasts is the first free village in Jamaica - Sligoville, St Catherine.
As an elder for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Galina, St Mary, and deputy superintendent (DSP) in charge of St Mary's administration, Powell believes religious apathy is society's biggest problem and insists the only viable solution involves a return to traditional family values.
Speaking earlier this week from his office at the Port Maria Police Station, he told Family and Religion: "I think religion, irrespective of faith or denomination, is very important because it inculcates values and attitude. Religion teaches that you are not alone. You're accountable to a superior being, which means someday you will have to give an account for your actions.
"I think one of the things we need to do is pay more attention to is family life because that is really the core of society and the first place of socialisation. If the family is right, society and the entire world will be right; and so we need to look at how best we can fix the issues affecting families."
He pointed to teenage pregnancies and juvenile delinquency as serious issues which need to be tackled.
"There is far much too much teenage pregnancies and child delinquency. We really need to get back to the way of life where the community is in charge because, as the African saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.
"We need to eliminate the loose morals, especially among our young people who are being influenced negatively by the international community through the Internet and advancements in communications."
The rough, tough and often unyielding functions of a Jamaican police officer may seem at odds with the DSP's Christian ethics, but Powell notes that at no stage throughout his 26-year career has he ever had a problem balancing his professional responsibilities and religious beliefs.
He explained: "Policing is in my veins. My father was a policeman and I always remember seeing him administering police services, and I have two brothers who joined the force with me, so it's a big family thing.
"For me, being a Christian law-enforcement officer is pretty easy because Christians should be law-abiding and their brother's keepers; and if you're your brother's keeper, even if somebody runs afoul of the law, which normally happens, they still must be treated humanely and with respect and dignity."
Powell, who worked in St Catherine North, Spanish Town, Linstead, Portland and St Ann before settling in St Mary, has many hopes and desires, but one stands above all the others.
He said: "The thing I wish for most is for there to be more love in the world because if you look around, you'll see people pretending to love each other, but it's just a faÁade. Jesus said: 'I came here and laid down My life for My friends,' (John 15:13), which is the ultimate sacrifice. How many people are really willing to do that today?"