Superintendent Carol McKenzie, the head of the Westmoreland Police Division, says he is willing and ready to dialogue with Savanna-la-Mar's mayor, Bertel Moore, on the crime concerns which prompted his call for the police to "shoot first and then ask questions later".
"We are neighbours," McKenzie told The Gleaner.
"We share the same building … . If there is a concern and he's frustrated about this concern, surely, his concern could be expressed to me verbally in my presence or in writing," McKenzie said.
"If he wants statistics, it is available. If he wants to know what the crime pattern is, it is available. It is not something that the police force or the division hides," he said.
During last Thursday's monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Parish Council, a seemingly frustrated Moore made the "shoot first" suggestion after bemoaning the crime situation in the parish and the police's failure to attend council meetings to provide updates.
"That is something I could not agree with," said McKenzie with regard to the mayor's controversial suggestion.
" … The truth is … we must not shoot at all unless it is absolutely necessary," stated McKenzie.
In an initial reaction to the mayor's suggestion, Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke, the commanding officer for Area One (Westmoreland, Hanover, St James, and Trelawny), said while he understood the mayor's frustration, the police were duty bound to follow the law.
"I understand the mayor's irritation, but we are duty bound to fire only when our lives or somebody else's life is threatened," Clarke explained.
With regard to the complaint that the police were not attending parish council meetings to provide updates on the crime situation, McKenzie said it was not always possible to attend these meetings.
"They have a meeting to which we are invited … . If I cannot attend, I send a rep," said McKenzie.
"However, there are times we don't have the availability of personnel because there are other things that we need to attend to … . Surely, this is something we could discuss."