Lessons for JCF to learn

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

LIKE MOST well-think­ing Ja­maicans, I was shocked and sad­dened to learn of the shootout in Hori­zon Park which left two po­lice of­fi­cers dead and two oth­ers se­ri­ously in­jured.

As tragic as the in­ci­dent was, the pow­ers that be within the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force (JCF) must use it as a les­son to un­der­stand what tran­spired, what went wrong and, in so do­ing, ad­dress the ob­vi­ous weak­nesses and short­com­ings in the ap­proach of the of­fi­cers, which clearly left them ex­posed and at the mercy of what we are told was a lone gun­man with a high­pow­ered weapon in close quar­ters.

I am painfully aware that even the best-planned op­er­a­tions are risky, and the pos­si­bil­ity of the lives of of­fi­cers be­ing lost is a sad re­al­ity. That said, there would be no ex­cuse for a sin­gle gun­man sur­pris­ing the po­lice team, and ul­ti­mately es­cap­ing had the op­er­a­tion been prop­erly planned and ex­e­cuted.

In say­ing this, we must re­mem­ber that this was not a case where the po­lice team came un­der fire and were am­bushed un­ex­pect­edly. On the con­trary, the law­men were the ones go­ing in search of the in­di­vid­ual in ques­tion, with both the el­e­ment of sur­prise and lo­gis­ti­cal plan­ning sup­pos­edly on their side. As such, they should have been suf­fi­cient in their num­bers to pro­vide ad­e­quate cover to those on the in­side while sur­round­ing the lo­ca­tion, tak­ing up de­fen­sive po­si­tions on the out­side, and main­tain­ing a strong enough perime­ter ,thereby en­sur­ing that the gun­man could not es­cape even if he some­how man­aged to exit the lo­ca­tion.


The po­lice com­mis­sioner seemed re­luc­tant to ac­cept that the law­men blun­dered in any way, or could have acted dif­fer­ently. It is my hope that he re­thinks his po­si­tion, not in crit­i­cism of the men killed in the op­er­a­tion, but in hon­our of their mem­ory and ser­vice, and in seek­ing to avoid a rep­e­ti­tion of what tran­spired. While not as au fait with the facts as the com­mis­sioner ob­vi­ously would be, I feel that had the plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion of the raid been as ef­fi­cient as the qual­ity of the in­tel­li­gence re­ceived, then the re­sults would, in all like­li­hood, have been vastly dif­fer­ent.

I am in no way seek­ing to de­tract from the tragedy of the sit­u­a­tion and the death of two of­fi­cers and in­jury of oth­ers. In fact, it is while I pray for them and their fam­i­lies that I urge the JCF to take bet­ter prepa­ra­tions to en­sure that an op­er­a­tion like this never again has the re­sult that this one did. I urge them to be hon­est in their de­brief, and amend their train­ing pro­to­cols in hon­our of their fallen col­leagues.


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