THE EDITOR, Sir:
Iam appalled by the recent killing of 27-year-old Kay-Ann Lamont, who was eight months pregnant.
We must now grapple with the anomie of our nation. As cost of living and unemployment increase, more and more people will become suicidal or reach very close to their breaking point.
While we must await full investigations and a trial for the details surrounding the instant case, the Jamaica Constabulary Force must ensure that all its staff are in good physical and mental shape.
There are strong and compelling reasons for the careful selection of police personnel, and it is critical that this process involves a psychological assessment. This is rather important when one examines the significant power and authority that come with being a cop.
The vast majority of arrests occur peacefully; however, an arrest typically requires a citizen's submission to the officer doing the arrest. An officer may exercise reasonable 'force/violence' to achieve a citizen's lawful arrest.
My concern for our Jamaican society is that the authority for reasonable force may extend to extreme and fatal force. The resulting factor might have been a nervous breakdown.
I call on the minister of national security and the relevant police authorities to revamp the selection process of our officers, and go even further as to conduct regular assessments of those already in the force. People who suffer from psychosis, low intelligence, indecisiveness, impulsive tendencies or a debilitating mental condition are unfit for law enforcement service.
I may have joined the force as a Rhodes Scholar, but five years into my career, I might have become bankrupt, my wife died, and my son committed suicide. I would certainly not be the same person as when I joined the force.
Regular psychological testing of police personnel will greatly aid in ensuring that those sworn to serve, protect and reassure are mentally capable to do the job.