Lessons for JCF to learn
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.