Ready for duty: Newest police recruits graduate

Spanning the globe from West Bay to Sarajevo, an eclectic class of 23 officers graduated as the newest cardre of police recruits.

The recruits went through a rigorous 16-week course on the legal, physical and operational aspects of the job. They will go on the beat across the Cayman Islands next week, where their training will continue under the guidance of an experienced officer.

The recruits range in age from 18 to 41 and hail from various academic and professional backgrounds, including hospitality, education, finance and information technology.

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The majority of graduates were Caymanian and permanent residency holders, though the course was opened up to expatriates for the first time in an effort to widen the pool of potential officers.

Among the graduates was Brazilian Alan Parada, who helped foil a million-dollar diamond heist in George Town as a civilian. Parada, who was working as a marketing manager at Dolphin Quest at the time, won a bravery award for stepping in to assist then Commissioner David Baines as he chased down armed robbers in the streets of the capital after a raid on Diamonds International jewellery store on New Year’s Day in 2014.

Parada, who went on to work in a civilian role in the police, said he was delighted to have made it through the training course.

He said he had worked from 5am till late at night to ensure he passed all the exams.

“It feels amazing. I have been trying to join the police for years and I finally did it.”

Governor Martyn Roper inspects the graduates. – PHOTO: ALVARO SEREY

Also among the graduates was Joseph Anglin, an 18-year-old from West Bay, who has dreamed of being a police officer since the age of 11. He graduated alongside his former John Gray High School teacher, Craig Robinson, who switched to the police after a career in education.

Academy graduate Alan Parada had previously won a police award for helping foil a robbery as a civilian. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

Evelin Mena, from Belize, worked as a court interpreter before opting to join the recruit class.

She said going through the training had been “life-changing”.

“We didn’t know how strong we were or how capable. Training brought out the best of us and now we want to put it to work,” she added.

John Percival, senior training officer for the RCIPS, said it had been an “exuberant class” with a lot of energy.

He said they had all performed well, and with on-the-job training and experience would become great officers.

He said it was impossible to teach them everything in 16 weeks, but they had been given the right foundation. As well as the legal and physical requirements of the job, he said the course tried to instil customer care skills and the vision of a police officer as a public servant.

“A good officer is someone who wants to do the right thing for society, someone who has integrity, even in the face of adversity,” he said.

“I think this is a new generation of police officers, a new way of thinking.”

The new officers show their marching skills during a graduation parade.– PHOTO: ALVARO SEREY

The recruit class graduates will be continually assessed throughout a two-year probationary period until they are eventually confirmed as constables by the police commissioner.

During a graduation ceremony at Harquail Theatre Thursday, Acting Commissioner of Police Anthony Ennis told the officers he was confident they would uphold the highest ethical standards on the job.

“From this point on, your conduct will be proof of your character, integrity and service as a police officer,” he said.

Governor Martyn Roper, who attended the ceremony, said it was encouraging to see such a large recruit class.

“We have a diverse Police Service but I’m also pleased to see the majority of these recruits are from the Cayman Islands and that a good proportion are female – helping to improve the gender balance,” he added.