Commissioner blames village for errant officers

Dear Editor,

The commissioner of police is complaining that this village is producing so many idiots that he is obliged to lower his recruitment standards.

He could not be more wrong.

The comish chided society for being at fault for some of the elements of indiscipline we now see on his force.

This seemed an odd observation from someone who is supposed to oversee a disciplined force of women and men whose job is to serve and protect.

According to the commissioner, bad parenting and poor schooling contaminate the talent pool from which he must draw to staff his force.

It’s our fault that he has to recruit, train, graduate and then issue badges to policemen, some of whom turn out to be no better than the thugs we expect them to arrest for running afoul of the law.

The commissioner has had no end of embarrassment from his staff of late.

Perhaps it has always been thus, but in the age of cell phone cameras and the internet, it seems that every week we are left crying shame on the force because of the jungalist behavior, downright stupidity or criminality of a tiny percentage of our (mostly) men in uniform.

The latest incident came during the New Year’s Junkanoo Parade when a posse of punks disrupted a portion of the parade route with loutish behavior.

We expect the police to quickly diffuse or neutralize these situations and to do so with an intent to prevent injury to bystanders or destruction of property.

Physical or lethal force should be commensurate with the perceived threat and all policemen should know from the outset that corporal punishment is not their job.

Police brutality is a stain on us all as it’s evidence of a rot on the force that goes way higher than the rank and file. Junior staff do what they can get away with.

Our police force is 180 years old this year.

With 3,000 members, it is one of the largest employers in the country. To retain its organic growth, it has to constantly recruit and train new policemen. And this, apparently, is where they come up short.

The commissioner should be looking for recruits of good moral character who demonstrate qualities of courage, integrity and loyalty. That’s their motto.

But this high standard of recruitment ties the commissioner’s hands.

Society has limited the number of competent young men available to him. But that doesn’t mean we must write off an entire generation as a lost cause.

If the commissioner and his line minister made the case, we taxpayers might stomach giving him more money to recruit a higher standard of officer.

That invariably will mean the force will have a lot more female officers than it does today. Women are the high achievers in our society and our men and boys have a lot of catching up to do.

The police should help to tilt the recruitment pool to their advantage by participating in Little League sporting games and being more active in athletics and after school activities.

Coaches, teachers, clergy, parents and neighbors know more about the youth on the street than the police ever could, and they could help steer suitable youngsters from an early age into a career in law enforcement.

Recruits with overall good character won’t drink and drive police cars while filming themselves and then post the video on the internet, if they fear serious repercussions from higher up their chain of command.

The police association should have a stupidity litmus test and apply it to each situation instead of automatically protecting bad actors and the just plain dumb ones.

Things will change when the good officers on the force (and there are many) start to demand that the slackers get weeded out.

The government is slowly modernizing the laws, making it clearer for the police to enforce them.

And money is being spent on recurrent training, on equipment, hardware and software to help the police prevent crime, and to investigate, hunt down and prosecute offenders when it does occur.

It is our job to make sure the police are held to account.

Citizens should continue to roll their cameras. A competent policeman doing his job will not fear video tape.

The commissioner will come to see that this village raises more than idiots.

And we are prepared to help him identify good women and men if he promises to give them the training, discipline and integrity to serve and protect. No more excuses, sir.

– The Graduate

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