Guy’s Hill-based policewoman named Officer of the Year

Guy’s Hill-based policewoman named Officer of the Year

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

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GUY’S HILL, St Catherine — based Police Corporal, Samantha Brown-Thompson was recently announced as the winner of the 2018/19 Lasco Police Officer of the Year award, at the annual awards dinner held at the Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston.

Brown-Thompson, the only woman among the eight finalists for the 19-year-old award was highlighted for leading the charge against excessive use of ganja among 13-18-year-old students in the Guy’s Hill community, which is administered under the St Catherine North Police Division that, up to recently, was one of three areas accommodating a state of emergency (SOE).

A 13-year veteran of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Brown-Thompson was hailed as “reliable, consistent, and a highly motivated individual”, with a passion for serving her community and a positive influence on adolescent children.

In 2012, she successfully initiated a counselling and exposure therapy programme to tackle the growing social issues stemming from the high level use of ganja, peer pressure, and in some cases inadequate parental supervision in the violence-plagued area.

“She has designed several programmes that provide an outlet for young boys to speak out and support each other on the right path to success and growth,” a release distributed by Lasco revealed.

Regarded as an efficient sub-officer at the Guy’s Hill station, her programmes for the youth have produced higher than normal graduation rates among the students she engages, and she has been able to obtain stable employment in reputable institutions for most of them.

For winning, Corporal Brown-Thompson received $350,000 in cash, a gift basket from Lasco, as well as the Lasco Trophy, which was handed to her by last year’s winner, Constable Davian Martin.

Brown-Thompson then explained that effective policing requires a partnership with the community, which sees her visiting farms, attending community meetings, school lectures as well as youth clubs.

According to Lasco, it was her work with adolescent males, which saw her educating them about the consequences of smoking ganja, that earned her the top cop award. She executed the project with the assistance of the National Council on Drug Abuse.

Brown-Thompson suggested that community policing offers the best opportunity for changing the perception that members of the force are corrupt.

“I believe to eradicate this perception, we need to be more involved in community engagements through sensitisation, to inform and educate our people about our culture and the true culture of law enforcement,” she told the awards ceremony.

“Corruption detracts from our organisation and our country. It affects us as members and our families. The perception that the public hold that all law enforcers are bad is very far from the truth,” she added.

Guest speaker at the event was Opposition Senator Floyd Morris, who, urged the cops not to allow disability to block their development. He also related how he moved through the system from his St Mary beginnings to earn first, second and third degrees at the University of the West Indies (UWI), despite being blind .

Chairman of Lasco, Lascelles Chin told the audience that his company invests some $30 million annually in the programme to cover cash awards, attendance at conferences and support for the community projects.

He urged the contestants and the leadership of the JCF to partner with the Lasco Chin Foundation “to ferret out the at-risk youth from a life of crime and give them hope for an alternative life”.

He further charged the police officers to honour and never betray their badge, their integrity, their character or the public trust.

“I always ask our awardees to make that commitment. Promise to have the courage to hold yourself and others accountable for your actions, and to always uphold the laws of the land, the community you serve and the high ethical standards of the JCF,” Chin said.

Host of the function was Radio Jamaica’s Paula Ann Porter-Jones. Other speakers included Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, and Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson.

 

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