Fri | Oct 15, 2021

Letter of the Day | Police need to be more tactful

Published:Monday | October 11, 2021 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

For many years, I have tried to respect the Jamaica Constabulary Force and every time an opportunity is presented, it seems some members always blow it. Allow me to relate the most recent, which happened in Clarendon, at the roundabout just before turning into May Pen.

My family and I were coming from a funeral in Clarendon last Friday. Three carloads of us. My naive stepson, a young driver, failed to fill up his gas tank before the journey from Kingston, which resulted in that car and occupants stranded in the parish later on in the evening.

Subsequently, a male stranger offered to travel with him to show him the gas station, and again my naive stepson offered to take him, albeit in a packed car, with COVID-19 rampant. We reached the gas station, and then two other stops. Still, this man wouldn’t come out of the car. Every time we asked he said he was just going up the road.

I decided I was not going back into Kingston on the highway with him and fortunately, we ran into a police spot check just before the highway entrance. They stopped my stepson’s car, which was travelling in front of the other two vehicles. All three vehicles stopped and parked behind each other in the midst of the police and soldiers.

While there, I discretely called over a policeman dressed in brown khaki, who I subsequently identified as the commanding officer for the parish, to inform him of this stranger of whom the entire family had grown weary and wanted out of the car. This was around 6:30 p.m.

Instead of coming, the policeman shouted through my front passenger window: “Who me? Yuh can’t call me. I not coming to no man!” very loudly, as if to alert the stranger in the front vehicle, before walking away from my car.

I immediately felt fear and anger consume me at once and lashed out, calling him a fool three times.

Guess who came around to my window after that?

I was taken from my vehicle, threatened with arrest for “abusing a policeman” and told to “go up inna di truck”.

All this time, the man who we were afraid of was sitting in the car with my stepson and the other passengers.

THE REAL WORLD

It was minutes afterwards that another member of the police team realised what I was trying to hint at and decided to search the occupants of the front car. They then sent away the stranger travelling with us. Luckily, he didn’t have a gun, and I hope didn’t mark my face or anyone else’s in the vehicles.

It was afterwards that this police officer relinquished his ego, and after much pleading from other relatives, told me I could go, still fuming at the “abuse” he said I had meted out to him.

I know it was wrong to call this policeman a fool, but I honestly think he was. This situation could have easily resulted in death for my family, or even members of the security forces who were present on the scene.

In a Netflix movie, I saw my action to tip off the khaki-suited cop discretely working another way, but I guess this is the real world. Jamaica, at that.

C. ROBINSON