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IT CANNOT BE BUSINESS AS USUAL!

Updated on October 17, 2014
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force
The police officer who was killed in Bedward Gardens
The police officer who was killed in Bedward Gardens

COPS AND ROBBERS CULTURE?

*Sigh* I'm starting to sound like a scratched record, but again, here goes: As a quasi-colleague of police officers and someone who is from a volatile community and works with society's condemned, i'm concerned about the folly and nonchalant attitude taken by many a police officer when going out to these volatile communities to 'fight crime'.

I don't know what exactly is happening why so many cops are being killed or injured in the line of duty; but I also don't know why so many civilians are dying at the hands of these cops under questionable circumstances! With the latest murder of an on-duty police officer in Bedward Gardens, Jamaica, one can't help but wonder.

If the police was acting on intelligence that heavily armed men were in the area and preparing for 'war' with a neighbouring community, how is it that such a small amount of police officers responded to the 'intelligence'? Likewise, was there sufficient gear for such a response?! Yes I have seen cops shot to death with helmets and bullet proof vests on, but something screams 'unpreparedness' to me in this case, based on preliminary information.

Another real issue, however, is the large reports of cases of extrajudicial killings and questionable deaths in police custody. What is equally sad, is the fact that because these men/youths usually come from troubled communities, society assumes guilt on their part or feels it is one less 'non-saint' off the streets. The end result of the 'one less criminal' attitude is however, a dangerous approach to take. This is because sooner or later, it will also reach 'our' doorsteps. By the time it does reach our doorsteps, it will already be far too late, as the trust would have already been eroded and what will be left is an "us versus them" approach to crime and violence. In fact, there is documentary evidence of people starting and joining human rights groups only after the 'my doorstep' reaches home.

Sad to say, this is not unique to Jamaica as countries like the US and England are also having their fair share of suspected extrajudicial killings and acts of violence against their law enforcers, among the more recent of which is the Michael Brown case. The ugly and never-ending debate of racism and classism as the main causes of extrajudicial killings is also rife.

So where do we go from here? As civilized nations, we cannot imply expect to fight fire with fire. The truth which many of us do not want to hear is that socialization and opportunities are among the main indicators for these offenses. What this means is that we need to ensure that no one really is left behind in the education system and return to the days of villages raising children. It is especially sad to see people in first world countries being illiterate or claiming non-attendance at school because of poverty or violence. The problem is however much deeper than that which meets the eye. What is known, however, is that if we continue on this path, we are all doomed...civilians and lawmen alike...and by extension, society at large.

Jamaican independent commission  crime-scene vehicle
Jamaican independent commission crime-scene vehicle
A state funeral procession, Jamaica
A state funeral procession, Jamaica

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