Fri | Dec 2, 2022

Commish wants more support for children of fallen officers

Published:Thursday | November 24, 2022 | 12:08 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson (right) having a chat with Josephine Parker-Mullings, widow of Corporal Oliver Mullings, and her son Oliver Mullings at the Commissioner’s Luncheon for Children of Fallen Officers at The Jamaica Pegasus h
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson (right) having a chat with Josephine Parker-Mullings, widow of Corporal Oliver Mullings, and her son Oliver Mullings at the Commissioner’s Luncheon for Children of Fallen Officers at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.
Major General Antony Anderson (right), commissioner of police, and Bobette Morgan-Simpson (left), superintendent of police in charge of St Mary, talk with the children of fallen cops who were fêted at a luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingsto
Major General Antony Anderson (right), commissioner of police, and Bobette Morgan-Simpson (left), superintendent of police in charge of St Mary, talk with the children of fallen cops who were fêted at a luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.
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Police Commissioner Antony Anderson is seeking to broaden the reach of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)’s benevolent arms in assisting the dependents of slain police officers.

Speaking with The Gleaner on Tuesday at a luncheon for children of fallen officers, he disclosed that there is currently only one such foundation in the island, which operates out of St James.

“We will look at other partners to come on board to expand that because we really do need a foundation to look after the children [and] families of fallen police officers,” he said.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Charmaine Shand, head of the JCF’s Community Safety and Security Branch, appealed for help to expand the foundation’s operations and establish others across the country.

She noted that several children of deceased cops were struggling in the absence of parents they regarded as idols or heroes.

“It is incumbent on all of us to be concerned about the welfare of the children left behind. It is the least that we can do for you ... . We need to provide financial, educational, psychological, and social support to the grieving and often traumatised children of our dear departed police officers,” she said.

Anderson noted that the JCF loses “quite a few officers” yearly in the line of duty or to illnesses or in accidents, adding that the force “really have to take care of their families”.

Among the numerous ways the foundation helps to provide resources, he told The Gleaner, is that it is primarily focused on giving the children as many opportunities as they would have if their parent were still alive, adding that more public-private sector partnerships would assist in achieving this.

Tuesday’s luncheon was held in honour of the 30 officers who died between November 4, 2021 and November 4, 2022.

Relatives of Corporal Oliver Mullings, who served in the Kingston Western Division and was killed in the line of duty by gunmen in October, and Corporal Osbourne Ximines, of the Gayle Police Station in St Mary, who was found dead by suspected suicide in his home in Treadway in Linstead, St Catherine, in March, were among the attendees.

During a reflection, Alex Ximines recalled his father as a kind and patient man.

“He [taught] me a lot of things, but one of my favourite things was him teaching me how to ride a bike,” he said.

“I really loved my father,” he said, concluding the very few words he managed to say.

Assistant Superintendent Noel Daley, who worked closely with Mullings, said that since his late co-worker entered the force in May 2004, he exhibited qualities of promise through hard work and dedication.

He added that his departed friend was highly committed to being “a force for good”.

In his remarks, Commissioner Anderson said that he understood how difficult it was for families to witness their loved ones “head out into danger” daily even though the officers did so because of their dedication and desire to contribute to nation-building in that manner.

“We are here for you, and as you grow, there may be occasions where you may need to call on us if you have problems,” he told the children.

“It is important that I signal to you that our commitment isn’t just for the time someone is on the job ... . It is beyond that,” the police chief added.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com