Bodden Town youngsters recently were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of police marine and air operations.
An excited group of 28 Year 4 students from Bodden Town Primary School visited the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Joint Marine Unit and the Air Operations Unit on June 15, and learned about police specialist operations from a number of officers.
They also saw a demonstration by the police service’s K-9 Unit during their visit to the RCIPS Marine Base.
The visit was organized following a request from the school, following a similar visit by Year 4 students last year. The students have been learning about the different types of jobs police officers do.
The students and chaperones first visited the RCIPS Marine Base, where they met the police, immigration and customs officers who make up the unit, and then watched demonstrations of police marine equipment, such as radios, safety vests and lights. They were given a short briefing on navigation by Capt. Randolph Jackson, a customs officer and U.K. Overseas Territories maritime instructor.
“I always find that children are fascinated by the charts,” said Capt. Jackson. “Although it is a bit technical, it is not difficult to engage them. They want to learn.”
Afterward, the students were led outside where they saw a demonstration by K-9 officer PC Adrian Menzies and police dog Shadow. While PC Menzies and Shadow were out of sight, marine officers hid a small quantity of drugs in the shed, in a place students chose. PC Menzies and Shadow then conducted a search of the premises, and as Shadow approached where the drugs were hidden, the students began to cheer. When Shadow indicated where the drugs were to PC Menzies, they burst into applause.
“One of Shadow’s main jobs is to find hidden drugs, and he does this very well,” said Inspector Leo Anglin, RCIPS marine commander. “He has found drugs twice in the last month alone.”
He explained how Shadow and PC Menzies communicate through commands and body language.
“And what do we know about drugs?” he asked the children. “We don’t do them, right?”
“No, sir!” the students responded.
The children then boarded the RCIPS marine vessel Guardian to view the boat’s controls and hear about the work of marine officers from Capt. Hugh Bush, police constable.
Capt. Bush briefed them on the safety requirements of the vessel and the kind of patrols and police work the vessel does. The boat remained docked while the students were on board.
After leaving the RCIPS Marine Base, the students visited the Air Operations Unit and received a briefing about the police helicopter from PC Ronnie Pollard, tactical flight officer. All students were given the opportunity to wear a helmet, have their picture taken, and look inside the helicopter at the controls and safety gear.
The students demonstrated keen interest throughout all the presentations, peppering the officers with questions, including: “What happens to Shadow the police dog when he retires?” The answer: He either continues to live with his handler or is re-homed with a family.
“How high can the police helicopter fly?” was another question. The children learned that the chopper generally flies at 800-1,000 feet, with a ceiling of 12,000 feet.
The officers said they were encouraged by the students’ interest.
“As an organization, we have the responsibility to help mold the future generations of this country, and it starts right now with early interactions,” said Inspector Anglin.
“I remember seeing the patrol vessel Protector at Public Beach during the annual air show when I was a kid and saying to myself that one day I wanted to work on a police boat. You just cannot predict the positive impact such early impressions might have on a child.”