Jonathan Kern named top community police officer

A Cayman Islands police constable, who helped develop a smartphone app to improve communication between neighborhood cops and residents, has been named the Caribbean’s top community policing officer for 2017.

Jonathan Kern, who works with the neighborhood policing unit and currently patrols the George Town waterfront, was presented with the award at an event in Aruba this month.

The Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police regional recognition awards, sponsored by Trinidad-based Amalgamated Security Services, involves police forces from across the region.

Mr. Kern said he was proud and flattered to have won the award and to represent the Cayman Islands at the event.

The award looks at achievements over the past two years, disciplinary record, evidence of going above and beyond regular duties and knowledge of policing in all areas.

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One of the achievements cited in Constable Kern’s nomination, submitted by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, was the creation of a smartphone app that will allow residents to keep in regular contact with their neighborhood officers.

“I worked on it with my father-in-law. It is a basic app that allows people to report suspicious activity or share information with the police,” he said.

The app is just going live, he said, and is not intended as a substitute for 911 to report criminal activity, but rather for residents to share concerns and suspicions with police.

Constable Kern has also worked with the Lighthouse School to provide communication cards to assist people with learning difficulties in their interactions with police.

He said the cards would provide some information and could be presented to police to assist in situations when they were either a victim, a witness or a suspect.

“It is something that has been a problem in other jurisdictions and we want to make sure it doesn’t become a problem here,” he said. “We want to reduce negative interactions with police wherever possible.”

Mr. Kern was also recognized for his work with students at John Gray High School, as well as for passing the sergeant’s exam, training as a firearms team leader and first-aid trainer and running study classes for other officers for a promotion exam.

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