Sun | Aug 9, 2020

Customers key focus as new leader joins Newport West police

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2020 | 12:16 AM

On the retirement of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Melvin Kerr in 2019, the leadership of the Newport West Police Post was assumed by DSP Lorraine Elliston earlier this year. Shipping Industry news gets an early view of the 26-year veteran of the Jamaica Constabulary Force as she shared her approach to enhancing and maintaining safety and security in the Newport West community and Port Bustamante:

Q: What is your vision for the role of the JCF (Newport West) within the shipping industry?

A: The Newport West police formation is part of the Ports Division, which has responsibility for the major ports in Jamaica. The vision of the Ports Division is ‘Securing Travel and Trade’. Our responsibility at Newport West police is to provide a safe environment for businesses to operate and a safe space where persons can come to do business. We also aim to reduce criminal activities through the strong partnerships that we continue to forge within the community.

Q : What assurance would you like members of the Newport West community to have?

A: To the best of our ability and within the constraints of our resources, we will be proactive in our approach to policing and to better serve the public. Matters reported to us will get the required attention.

Q: Are there any active or pending initiatives being led by the Newport West police that you would like the community to know about and/or participate in?

A: One of our main objectives is to build and maintain stakeholder relationships to aid in the reduction of crime. We continue to work with other JCF formations and our stakeholders to conduct operations aimed at reducing criminal activities on the port; especially illicit drugs and illegal guns through the ports. The Newport West police have taken certain steps in traffic enforcement, as we now have in place a team from 7 a.m. managing traffic in the space.

Q: What are some of the challenges faced by the Newport West police and the shipping industry?

A: The JCF is continuously improving on being proactive in our approach to policing to better serve the public. Even though there may be constraints in our resources. I must admit that we have had some challenges in terms of our numbers. Those issues are being addressed. Over the last three months, we have improved our policing efforts and have maintained a daily mobile patrol of the port facility, despite the current pandemic.

Q: What contributions or expectations do you have or expect from the Newport West community and the shipping industry to assist you in your role?

A: While my team and I have been quite proactive in meeting with stakeholders, I am quite pleased that several stakeholders have reached out to me since my arrival at Newport West. Stakeholder-relationship is high on my agenda as it is through partnership that we will be able to achieve a safer community. We will rely on information sharing to assist us in carrying out our function, especially with businesses with CCTV capability that can aid our investigations. Maintaining these partnerships, I believe, will be mutually beneficial.

Q : Are there any points you would like the community of Newport West or the general community to note?

A: We will be doing traffic enforcement daily within the police area. The Newport West police stands ready to assist persons requiring police service and we encourage persons who are victims of crimes to report these matters to the police. Where matters are not reported, the police will not be in a position to make a true assessment of the crime(s) or situation and as such, would not be able to put the appropriate measure in place to combat the situation/problem. Over the last 10 months, we have seen a number of cases where unscrupulous persons have been purporting to be car dealers and broker clerks, taking millions of dollars in both Jamaican and United States currencies for motor vehicles that were never delivered, thereby swindling these unsuspecting persons out of monies. In some instances, we have been able to make arrests and several of these matters are currently before the court.

To persons who are in the market to purchase vehicles, before you hand over your hard-earned cash, please ensure that you are conducting business with a reputable company. Avoid meeting someone on the roadway who may show you a car mart and give you access to a vehicle in trying to make you believe that they are car dealers.

Q:How long have you been serving as a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force?

A: I joined the JCF on February 4, 1994. I have served in Portland, Protective Services Division (1994-1998), Office of the Prime Minister’s Security Detail Uniform Section (1998-2000), Narcotics Division Areas 1 and 2 (2000-2013), officer in charge of Area 2 Narcotics (2010-2013), St Mary Division as administrative officer and head of Community Safety and Security Branch for the division (2013-2020), and now the Ports Division since January 2020.

Q: What inspired your decision to join the JCF?

A: I had an aunt and uncle who were police officers and I was also encouraged by other family members to join the JCF. I can say that this decision has been one of the best that I have ever made. The JCF has impacted my life positively in many ways. It has allowed me to travel to several countries, including China, Canada, and Aruba, the latter for training supported by the United States government. I have ridden the bullet train and climbed the Great Wall of China, and I have also visited the CN Tower and Niagara Falls. For a girl who dreamed of leaving my small community (a community that I felt was closing me off) but never thought that I would make it this far, I have accomplished a lot. Yes, I know that there is much further to go, much more that can be accomplished, and many more opportunities to serve my country. If you understand the ranks of the JCF – constable, corporal, sergeant, inspector, assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, senior superintendent, assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner, and commissioner of police – there is room for growth.

On the other hand, it is the impact that you have on the lives of young people that is most important to me. Last year, I built a classroom on the basic school in my community to assist them in accommodating more students comfortably. I have also coordinated multiple youth programmes, like debate competitions, conceptualised the A-STEP Student Spelling Bee Competition and several other community engagement projects in St Mary.

Overall, being in the JCF allows you to walk with kings and members of the general population just the same.

Q: What is your most rewarding or memorable moment/experience since joining the JCF?

A: My most rewarding experience was being part of the Narcotics Division team between 2000-2004, led by then SSP Carl Williams and Superintendent Gladstone Wright. This team was highly successful at interdicting major players in the drugs and guns trade resulting in numerous major seizures of contraband trafficked in and out of the country. It was also a great experience as I was a part of a multi-national initiative. We worked with law enforcement officers from Jamaica (Financial Investigations Division, Customs and other agencies), Great Britain, United States, the Caribbean, and many other countries. Under the leadership of these two gentlemen, I honed my leadership, motivation, and objectivity skills. This experience has moulded me into the leader that I am today. From this experience I also learned the importance of sharing opportunities/benefits so that all staff members in some way are rewarded and valued.