Police fear 'hostile environment' toward cops

Members of the Cayman Islands Police Association said Friday they are becoming extremely concerned about the safety and security of police officers in the wake of two recent “acts of violence perpetrated against [officers]”.  

The latest incident involved at least one armed suspect shooting in the direction of Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers at the end of a pursuit in a crowded George Town apartment complex around 8pm on Thursday.  

No one was injured in that incident. However, an RCIPS Uniform Support Group officer wasn’t so lucky on 23 March during a crowd control assignment where a rock had apparently been hurled at him – striking his head and sending him to the hospital with a fractured skull.  

“The police association condemns these acts of violence against our officers who put their lives at risk daily to ensure communities are safe and are imploring our citizens to stand strong and collective against these types of deviant behaviours to ensure your families, visitors and investors can continue to live and do business in a safe and peaceful community without the fear of personal injury,” a statement from association President Rudolph Gordon said.  

“The association is asking our citizens to take personal responsibility in helping to eradicate what appears to be an emerging hostile environment toward law enforcement and reminds the community that this type of behaviour is what destroyed the peace and tranquillity in other jurisdictions.”  

The police association asks the community to remember that police officers are chosen from the same society as everyone else who lives in the Cayman Islands.  

“This places them at greater risk and requires community efforts to ensure [officers] are safe and treated respectfully,” the statement read.  

By press time Monday, local police had arrested and released on bail four people in connection with Thursday’s shooting incident at the Lakeside Villas complex. One arrest was made following a police operation early Friday in the George Town area; another was made near the Lakeside property shortly after the Thursday evening shots fired call. Both suspects, ages 22 and 29, were taken into custody on suspicion of attempted murder and firearms offences but have been released on police bail while the investigation continues. 

In addition, a man aged 22 and a woman aged 29 years were arrested on Friday 12 April in connection with the incident. They were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defeat justice and they too have been released on police bail while the investigation continues. 

According to a police statement, officers in a marked patrol vehicle were driving behind a Ford Explorer SUV that was headed south on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway when the Ford suddenly sped off, turning into Lakeside.  

The police car followed the SUV until it crashed into a fence a short while later. Four people inside the Ford ran from the vehicle after the crash and, as they tried to get away, shots were fired, police said. Officers did not say whether they recovered the weapon used in the incident.  

The owner of the Explorer parked it at the Camana Bay open car park at approximately 6.50pm on Thursday, 11 April. The vehicle was removed approximately one hour later at around 7.50pm. 

“Officers are maintaining a presence in the Lakeside area, not only to obtain witness statements, but to reassure the resident and address and welfare concerns,” the RCIPS statement issued late Thursday read.  

During the 23 March incident where an officer was wounded, police had been called to the scene near the Pirates Cove bar in East End a few hours earlier on Friday evening, 22 March, having received reports of tyres being burned and illegal drug use in the area.  

Police officers said a party was in progress at the location, with more than 100 people in attendance. Officers checked out the situation, then returned to their patrol car only to find their front tyres had been punctured.  

Armed officers were deployed to the scene and it was in the same general area where the armed patrolman was struck in the head when a rock was hurled from the crowd. 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. The CIPA has every right to be concerned about the safety and security of police officers. I, as a citizen, am also very concerned about my personal safety and security and hope that recent events bring about the changes that are required to put a stop to the senseless acts of violence that are being perpetrated against innocent members of our communities.

    I wholeheartedly endorse the statements by the CIPA President regarding the need for our citizens to stand strong and collective against these types of deviant behaviours and for our citizens to take personal responsibility in helping to eradicate what appears to be an emerging hostile environment toward law enforcement. However, I would like to remind the CIPA President that the environment he speaks of has also become increasingly hostile towards innocent citizens who have no means to defend themselves and therefore might be limited in what they can do to assist law enforcement personnel.

    The type of behaviour that destroyed the peace and tranquillity in other jurisdictions was largely a result of politics /or the failure of the authorities to protect the citizens, or allow the citizens to protect themselves, from the overwhelming violence perpetrated by criminal elements within the jurisdictions.

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  2. All sane and right minded people should assist in putting these individuals behind bars as they are dangerous to the public welfare.
    If they will shoot at police they have no respect for the public.

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  3. A friend once told me, As the water (money) in Cayman’s pond (the society)resides, you will see the mud (bad elements)that’s been lying there underneath all along, rise to the top.

    Truer words never spoken.

    My question is…was the initial party of police officers who followed this SUV vehicle armed or not ?

    The report says nothing about police returning fire after being fired upon so it must be assumed that they weren’t.

    Cayman’s society has been living in denial for a very long time now and the chickens are coming home to roost in no uncertain terms.

    If only the gunmen are armed…and police officers and law-abiding citizens aren’t allowed to be, then…

    The gunmen in Cayman rules the roost…

    No question about that.

    The question is…what does Cayman’s society and lawmakers intend to do about it ???

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  4. If you arm the police officers more like give them tazers et cetera, the gun men will arm themselves more and they will use them. It is simple logic. The Commissioner of Police should know this!

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  5. What a sad commentary on the island I love. One of the reasons we invested in Morritt’s 20 yrs ago was because the island was so safe. It’s a shame that such an element has been allowed to propagate in Grand Cayman. If the perpetrators are immigrants from somewhere else they should be deported with no ability to return to the island.

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  6. Where to start….the police and their level of protection? The court system and the level of successful prosecutions? The law and the level of punishment? The prison system? The lack of public interest due to indifference or fear?

    Cayman needs to catch up with the times – all of the above need addressing.

    We the public need to start the ball rolling – ONLY with our support do the police stand a chance. The police are here for us!

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  7. I definitely do not approve of any of these violence attacks against police Officers, especially shooting at them. This calls for major concern in this Island. Parents and guardians, ask yourself how much in control are you with your teen aged boys and girls. Some of these behaviors are genetic, and if you check who their parents were you will learn that they did not like police or were constantly involved with the law. That is where the seed began, it began with the parents and guardians. Teacher at there schools did very little to assist. School plays a major part in bringing up a child. They may want to deny it but ask yourself how much time does you child spends around the parent. Your child spends at least 35 hours a week at school and maybe 20 hours around the parents. They spend 35 hours sleeping at nights, so where is most time spent. When a teacher hears or suspects a child is involved with wrong doing, they should be monitored and reported. Parents you need to stop encouraging your children in wrong doing, because you WILL pay the consequences. Enough on that.
    Now to the Police officers: Mostly those who are in uniform running day to day shifts involving reports. Many of you are VERY RUDE to people. YOUR APPROACH is not good. Many times you are the aggressor for no reason at all which causes the accused person and the complainants person to become agitated and untrusting to the police. You may not want to hear this but it is true, and I am splitting justice. Remember you are not VIC MACKEY ON THE SHIELD series, and if you have not watched the series; my suggestion would be PLEASE DO, because you will see the GOOD the BAD about Police. They have their times and their tricks too. I support the police 100% but I want to see your approach change. I want to see better children on the streets of Cayman, not teenagers shooting at police and we do not know why. Parents if you do not take a part in encouraging your children to do the right things you WILL CRY FOR THEM.

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  8. MackB…

    You sound eerily like a certain politician with a similar nickname ?

    Your statements reek of the denial that I’ve mentioned in my other comments.

    If ANYONE in Cayman thinks that that element of the society from which armed criminals are emerging with guns ablazing in their hands gives a flying hoot about innocent citizens or unarmed police officers then they are seriously disconnected and in denial about Cayman’s current situation…and where it originates from.

    And if anyone thinks that they’re going to lay off unarmed police officers…or innocent citizens just because they being asked to nicely…

    They’re just plain being naive, to put it mildly.

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  9. When I was fourteen years old my father was at sea most of the time. We lived in brooklyn ny back then in the sixties. I was starting to meet the wrong crowd due to a incident that my younger brother got us into. We had a italian, irish gang on the corner where we would have to cross every afternoon from school.
    They already didn’t like us because mom spoke funny(cuban). My mother made sure that when we finished school in the evening we came home at 3pm leaving us exactly 15 min. to make it home and timed. Brooklyn was a not a great place . We would only come later if we had something special to do in school or church.
    So dad was home for 2 weeks and we finally had a fight, first with my brother. A large boy wanted to win the respect of his girlfriend who was slighted in a verbal exchange between my brother and her. My brother was smaller and 2 years younger but the gang was there to make sure the fight went as planned. My younger brother failed miserably and apologized but was not accepted to which the bigger boy wanted to beat him some more while my father looked on. My father fearing for his favorite put bigger brother in place to fight for smaller brother .Bigger brother was smaller then opponent but succeeded in winning said fight. But gang was upset so wanted to change to a bigger boy to fight bigger brother but father said that was enough and stopped anymore fighting.
    But when gang found out dad went to sea and was leaving for months on end . They waited everyday to catch us literally one at a time. Taunting at us ,throwing rocks, verbally abusing ,us calling our mom names. But gang always had ten members of the gang always together. Then one day and a block further I found the boy who started the fight with my younger brother. We fought without his gang and I blackened his eye and broke his fingers and wrist of another hand . I was so angry I wanted to kill him. But people were watching and they stop the fight.
    Then of course the gang wanted blood they started throwing bottles. Then chasing us to beat us up using the entire gang. We had no choice we started carrying knives and choosing a different route to get home. we would find eggs on the stoop. The entire block had three latin families from puerto rico. The gang decided they didn’t want us there so when incidents happen to the younger kids their families called the police. To which the police who were italian and irish police didn’t do much of anything to the gang except to tell them they need to play ball and leave us alone. But they play ball in front of our house.
    So one day while finding another route sight unseen by gang. We run into a puerto rican gang and they ask us if we want to join them. We of course said sure , wouldn’t you? They also have knives chains and bats. From the next day we get escorted from school to home by twenty five members of our gang. For some strange reason they recognize our new friends and no longer have nothing to say to any of the puerto ricans on our block. My mom who of course say they are a gang . We of course say they are a basketball team and we practicing with them. From that day we live in peace.
    But our problem was Dad wasn’t there. If he was it would never have escalated to these issues

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  10. I think we have 2 separate issues that this raises:

    1. Why are guns and drugs still getting onto the island? Customs, airport security; we are clearly still doing something very wrong. As a regular citizen, I am treated like a criminal when receiving packages but regular criminals are able to do it seemingly effortlessly.

    2. RCIPS is a bit of a joke. If our police were armed with guns they wouldn’t run away from the criminals who ALREADY have them. It is ridiculous that this is even an issue for discussion. Every civilization other than the UK arms its police.
    Road blocks at random for…..nothing? Certainly not to stop drunk drivers. Good thing we are using valuable resources to stand on corners and make sure people have paid their annual dues to the Gov, but not stop them for driving under the influence ACTUALLY dangerous. 100 fine for a broke (but working) tail light but nobody to stop the fast and the furious down the bypass at all hours of the night? Way to go.

    When they do show up it is with gross prejudice and ineptitude. Having been personally involved in Police prejudice against expats and also in their disregard for my safety, I have to say I also don’t have any respect for these so-called ‘officers’ whose job is to protect me. 45 minutes to show up when called about someone having broken into the house which I occupied. Way to go again. E for effort.

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  11. The police must take action. The law gives them a great deal of power and they must not be afraid to use it. Nip the criminal behavior in the bud. Be strong and you will win. The vast majority of the population abhor crime. Put the thugs behind bars.

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  12. Couple of comments here,

    There is a policy which has been shown to work, called the Broken Window policy. Basically it shows that the effort spent on enforcement of percieved trivial and antisocial behaviour, Graffiti, Vandalism and so forth, pays dividends. By the time an individual has got away with minor bad behaviour, then moved on to petty theft and continued to not get caught, an attitude that there is no consequences has become ingrained and the criminal activity escalates from there on, and even prison time generally doesn’t change that.

    On the subject of arming the Police.
    There is a guy in the US who does trick shooting and his showpiece is to take a .22 rifle and throw 7 aspirin in the air and shoot them all (the bullets are about the same size as the aspirin), to maintain that level of skill he practices between 8 and 15 hours a week.
    Unless you allow your officers to practice to that level, it is wrong to expect them to carry a lethal weapon. We are not looking for parity with the criminal, we are looking for officers who are significantly better trained, better equipped and more practiced. A criminal must know that any conflict with the police will result in him being seriously outmatched.

    To arm all officers either results in needing more officers (if they spend 20 percent of time on training and practice) or that the criminals feel that they are a match for the average, undertrained Joe Policeman.

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  13. Sonic – so by not arming the police (because further training is somehow inconceivable?) we tell the criminals – hey, keep it up! Whatever you’re doing is working! Those clowns don’t stand a chance against you anyway.

    Why is that better? Perhaps the population should demand some of those huge sums of money that is paying far too many government be reallocated to hiring and yes training our police to actually be able to POLICE the island.

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  14. @Janeblow99

    Point I’m making is the current policy of specialist elite armed response teams, in unmarked vehicles is an appropriate policy. It is an ill considered knee jerk reaction that having ALL officers carry a gun will magically solve crime – that would be like saying that simply giving everyone a set of golf clubs would make them as good as Tiger Woods.

    Professional sportsmen and women often start with an aptitude but it is the training that gets them to the pinnacle, and when it comes to armed police officers surely it is better (and certainly more cost effective use of the budget) to have a few core teams who have the specialised training and the time and facilities to practice on a daily basis. That is what will give them the advantage over an armed criminal who does not have access to daily training, any confrontation should be a professional against an amateur.

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  15. How about no guns . Can you imagine if I had a gun in that previous letter about when I was young as a teenager. My father was gone most of the time. I would have been in jail or a mental institution. I would of shot the biggest baddest guy in the group.
    I think the approach should be boot camp. We need some men as role models for our young boys who don’t have a father in their lives. Some father’s should never have children for one reason or another. So the next best thing is a place where boys can go that has direction ,discipline in a caring manner. Two birds with one stone.

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