Public safety agencies show off at job fair

EMT Adan Powell speaks with UCCI student nurses about the Cayman Islands Emergency Medical Services.

(This story includes a corrected caption. —Ed.)

Hundreds of school children and adults swept through the University College of the Cayman Islands’ Sir Vassel Johnson Hall on Thursday, picking up information and discussing career opportunities with police, prison officials, emergency responders and more, as part of the Public Safety Recruitment Fair and Expo.

One of the more popular stations was that of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, where officials had a drone on display, along with information on everything from fingerprinting to financial crimes. A video highlighting police activity played in the background.

Det. Sam Sillitoe was in a uniform she rarely wears. Sillitoe runs the major incident room for the department, and she is usually in street clothes, working on homicide cases.

The expo, she said, is the one time during the year when the department gets to promote itself to the public.

“It’s really important, because they can actually speak to a detective and I’m right here,” Sillitoe said. It’s an opportunity to “just to show all the good work that we do and how busy we are”.

During the early part of the day, she said, the table was swamped with primary school children. She handed out puzzles that asked the kids to identify the differences in two nearly identical pictures. Good practice for detectives, she said.

College students were on hand as well. Chante Stimpson and Jessica Bodden were with a group of fellow third-year nursing students. None was looking for a job outside of nursing, but they did feel they gathered useful information from an EMT at the ambulance service station.

“He told us we could do ride-alongs with the EMTs,” Bodden said. “We didn’t know about that.”

Learning more about what goes on in the field, before patients reach the hospital, is useful, she said. “The more information we have, the more we can help out.”

Stimpson said coordination between agencies is important.

“Their job plays a great role in our job,” she said of the EMTs and paramedics. “We see how we can work with each department, hand-in-hand.”

Paramedic Krystal Arch said the ambulance service is currently hoping to add to its 39-member staff.

“We’re always looking for more people,” she said. “We need more personnel.”

Arch said it’s good to have an event, such as the expo, where the agency can showcase its services.

“I think they are massively important,” she said of job fairs. “I think we’re very undervalued in the community. We’re now pushing 6,000 calls per year. We definitely need the public to understand we’re very valued.”

Not every agency was ready to hire. The newly combined immigration and border control services was holding off. Customs and Border Patrol officer Staciemae Jackson said even she was still learning about the roles of the new agency.

“It has been hard to answer certain questions,” she said.

“Right now we’re not recruiting,” Jackson said, although she was compiling a list of names of those who said they would be interested when hiring starts. “We’re trying to figure out where they want to be. It could be accounting. It could be the forensic side. The opportunity is definitely there, just not today.”