It’s actually understandable that reporters and editors have a warm spot in their hearts and minds for police officers. An inordinate percentage of journalists get their start in the trade covering the police beat. The Compass newsroom is no exception. It’s filled with former police reporters who have drunk gallons of bad coffee out of Styrofoam cups in police press rooms around the world.
When you think about it, it makes sense because what better way is there to get to know an entire community – literally (to use a trite phrase), the good, the bad and the truly ugly. The police get to see it all and, if a journalist is along for the ride, he or she gets exposed to a view of the world that few residents ever get to experience firsthand.
And so, we at the Compass applaud the loudest at the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service outstanding service awards that each year put the spotlight on Cayman’s most dedicated, finest and, yes, bravest officers.
The award ceremonies took place last week at Government House with Acting Governor Franz Manderson and Commissioner Derek Byrne presiding.
To the individuals and departments who received commendations for their extraordinary contributions over the past year, we offer our sincere congratulations. One more time, let’s name them: Police Officer of the Year Constable Christopher Donaldson; Auxiliary Constable of the Year Shawn Bazil of the Custody Unit; Diversity Award winner Auxiliary Constable Fabian O’Connor; Welfare Award recipient Tiffany Rankine from the crime scene unit; Community Spirit Award recipient Alfredo Powery of West Bay; Special Constable of the Year Willian Petit; Support Staff of the Year award winners Wayne Bobb-Semple and Monique Burton; and, receiving particular notice, the Criminal Investigation Unit, which earned the Unit Citation Award.
The dais at this year’s service awards ceremony was a bit more crowded than it has been in recent years – and deservedly so, in recognition of the scores of RCIPS officers who rushed to the aid of storm-ravaged Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma flattened buildings, disrupted services and threatened the public order.
The first officers arrived in BVI early last September. They were replaced by another cohort in October, and yet another later in the month. They helped secure the islands and apprehended prisoners who had escaped from the severely damaged prison. The work was difficult and the conditions harsh, but scores of RCIPS officers answered the call – many even volunteering to remain in BVI for a second tour of duty.
In their post-Irma efforts, the men and women of the RCIPS not only provided vital assistance, they demonstrated for our Caribbean neighbors the RCIPS’s (and Cayman’s) values of respect, courtesy, integrity, professionalism and service.
As Acting Governor Franz Manderson phrased it at the recent service awards ceremony, “The RCIPS has led the way in making us world-class.”
In addition to recognizing our finest with once-a-year service awards, the Cayman community can do more – 365 days a week. We can support our police – and our judicial system – by joining them in their quest to eradicate crime from this jurisdiction.
That means stepping forward when we witness wrongdoing, testifying willingly (even anxiously) in a courtroom during the prosecution of the malefactors, and, in every way we can, supporting and respecting the RCIPS.
They are there “24/7” for us. We need to be there “24/7” for them.