Police Chief Instructor Claude Weekes: Recruits dormitory became a maternity ward
Claude Weekes, the head police trainer left his audience with no doubt that recruits need to absorb pain to be successful police recruit.
"On their arrival at the institution on the 4th of May 2018 their body language indicated that they may have erred in choosing to become police officers," Weekes told the graduation ceremony of the 33rd Recruit Training Course at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium last Wednesday. "They all bundled up together like little cowered chickens wishing that their mother would come back soon to comfort them."
Weeks added that "their mothers did not appear and they were left in the hands of hard uncompromising caretakers."
He said the 29 all-male recruits went to church regularly because, according to Weekes, "they needed Divine intervention to survive the grueling four months" programme.
"As usual the pain, the crying and the groaning started," Weekes said. "What (we say was) the maternity ward of the police training school; indeed there was crying and groaning and moaning."
But the young men survived and Weekes said he was "impressed with their level of tenacity, determination and motivation during the programme."
That training programme is usually held over six months but because the police force has a significant number of vacancies and following the devastation of hurricane Maria, the programme was reduced to four months.
"It was a tough call", said Weekes who added that police training has to reflect the changing environment in which the police have to function.
"Over the years there has been a seismic shift, a new dimension in the changing global security environment and policing in general," Weekes said.
Thus the new police training syllabus included sociology, psychology, human rights, health and tourism as well as the usual policing subjects. In addition, the potential police officers had to get acquainted with new laws such as the Sexual Offences Act and firearms legislation.
But the objectives of the programme was not changed since the school began in 1968 and that is "to provide police recruits with the necessary skills and knowledge to discharge their duties as police officers, build self-confidence and the ability to deal with the general public, instill discipline and enhance their standard of physical fitness, provide a strong understanding of the role of the police in our society," Weekes said.
But according to Weekes policing is a near-impossible job made more difficult by a diverse society that is becoming increasingly aware of its rights.
To illustrate the fact that the public's expectations of police officers are sometimes unreasonable, Weekes quoted August Vollmer, former police chief of Berkeley, California, who once said:
"The citizen expects police officers to have the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the leadership of Moses, the kindness of the Good Samaritan, the strategical training of Alexander, the faith of Daniel, the diplomacy of Lincoln, the tolerance of the Carpenter of Nazareth, and, finally, an intimate knowledge of every branch of the natural, biological, and social sciences. If he had all these, he might be a good policeman."
Nevertheless, the 2018 police recruits begun reaching that unreachable standard, as stated by Vollmer. Twenty six completed the course with an overall course average of 80%.
Among the main recruits were: Kenson Wiltshire (Best Recruit); Clyford Jonathan Telemacque (First Runner Up); Oswald Shillingford (Best in Drills); Edmund Dellon Williams (Best in Self Defence); Nillson Valmond (Best in Physical Training, Best Turned Out, and winner of the Commissioner Shield for Most Disciplined Student); Kelson Ronald James (Best Shot and Best at Weapons Training). Constable Wiltshire received the Baton of Honour.