Commentary: Bringing two distant cousins together in community policing


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Dr. Neals J. Chitan

My recent experience as a social skill facilitator with Inspector Jacqueline Dillon of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and her Community Policing team has reinforced my conviction that 21st century policing needs to strike a crucially fine balance between the “2Es” approach to policing.

There is absolutely no doubt that the dominant “E” in the minds of any rank of police anywhere across the globe is “Enforcement”- a word that seems to be traditionally synonymous to policing. It is a trained mindset that is predicated on the root word “force” or forcing individuals to comply to rules and laws while at the same time forcefully holding them accountable if they chose not to. And so, with a rising generation of Millennials who are now parenting their GenZ children, tragedy is almost inevitable using that approach.

This generation gap between traditional and more contemporary thinking is a phenomenon I have seen not only across North America and Europe but here in the Caribbean. This gap was created by a serious shift in the socializing and thinking processes of the Millennial generation from a strict law-abiding mindset of their parents to their now relativistic way of operating, and by the way, influencing their GenZ children likewise.

This preferred lawless thinking where each is only accountable to themselves is making policing a rather difficult task and bringing out the enforcement demon in many officers. Relativism with its “no absolutes” has trumped law-abiding living and has created a selfish brazen individual who is totally inclined to doing it and saying it the way I see it, despite the consequences.

Coupled with this dangerous “Relativistic” mode of thinking is another virus called “Instant Gratification”- a marriage made in hell that is invading the very social fabric of society and driving the masses into selfish and criminal behavior.

Generally, the 21st-century youth wants what he/she wants despite the rules and wants it now. The so-called ancient agricultural paradigm of planting, tending and reaping has gone into antiquity and an “instant (by any means necessary) shift” has taken over, leaving a trail of social and criminal disasters behind.

To address this downward spiral, the minds and hearts of this generation must be socially massaged and empowered if we hope to see a change in thinking and behavior.

By itself, the harsh iron-clad enforcement mode of operation will not bring change to a hopeless generation whose lives are frequently miscoloured by homicides, gang activity, sexual assaults, rape, bullying, and such social atrocities. Hopelessness has invaded their psyche and they will rebel against law enforcers if they need to.

I remember speaking to a 15-year-old male student who was defiant and rebellious to the principal. As I tried to reason with him and help him create a plan for his life he said “Sir, leave me alone. I don’t believe in this threescore and ten lifespans in the Bible. As I see it Sir, 17 is the new 70″ Wow! What hopelessness, I thought to myself, he expects to die by 17.

To counteract the serious negative effects of the “Relativism and Instant Gratification” union on our youth, we will need to also create another opposing union of “Enforcement and Empowerment.”

Empowerment that is skillfully blended with enforcement is the magic portion to cure many of the societal ills we see in our society. This powerful approach has key rehabilitative components which include; inspiration, motivation, challenging, lifting, encouraging, directing, counselling and planning, but also carry a very carefully thought-out disciplining component.

This approach I saw at Camp Verley in St Catharines, Jamaica during July 07-20, 2019 at the “IPAD 4 LIFE” Youth Empowerment Camp, directed by Inspector Jacqueline Dillion and her team of Community Policing officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Despite the challenges of overseeing and managing 157 at-risk teenagers, this short-staffed team worked caringly, lovingly and relentlessly to ensure that every camper was taken care of. The tenets of the IPAD construct hinges on four major pillars; Identity, Purpose, Attitude and Destiny and was well executed by the team of community policing officers.

It was my pleasure to be a part of this team as we brought the two distant cousins Empowerment and Enforcement together to inspire, motivate, challenge, direct and counsel these teenagers.

As I left to board American Airlines flight 1545, I said a prayer not only for Inspector Jacqueline Dillon and her Community Policing team but for the 157 teenagers who will go back to their homes, schools and communities much more empowered and equipped to face their various situations.

Story first appeared at caribbeannewsnow.com

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