CONSTABLE Jayann Raymond’s focus on getting young people who are prone to conflict to better manage their emotions and actions led to her being crowned top cop for the year 2023.

A mother of two boys, Raymond, who has been a cop for eight years, walked proudly to the stage to accept the trophy during Friday’s Lasco/JCF Saluting Our Heroes awards ceremony held at AC Kingston Hotel in the Corporate Area.

“My sons are going to be excited. I developed what is called the Expression of Self Programme because I recognised that a number of young people were not managing conflict effectively, and as a result we have seen an increase in crime. The Expression of Self Programme not only arms young people with knowledge of how to resolve conflict, but it has a wider impact on Jamaica,” said Raymond.

A total of 156 cops from across the island had entered the competition designed to effect positive change in communities through social programmes led by the contestants.

Raymond told the Jamaica Observer that it was her commitment to seeing Jamaicans become better people that led to her victory.

Raymond shared that she is currently youth coordinator for the Area Five Police Youth Club, which is involved in a Meals on Wheels programme that provides food to scores of less fortunate Jamaicans, among them the elderly, homeless, and the mentally ill.

“The Meals on Wheels initiative was created by the St Catherine South Police Youth Club. My platform as coordinator allows me to serve the community I live in and also 38 communities across Area Five. We drive around and provide warm meals to homeless people in the St Catherine North and South divisions,” she said.

Area Five, she pointed out, encompasses the St Catherine South, St Catherine North, St Andrew North, and the St Thomas police divisions.

Reiterating the view that building trust with communities is crucial to the constabulary’s effort to combat crime and violence, Constable Raymond said, “Partnership and trust are very important to us. Once, in our actions, we can get the people in the communities to develop a level of trust in the police and work with them to tackle crime, I see Jamaica as a place where we all will want to live, raise our families, do business and walk without fear of something happening to us. I am one member who is working to build that trust.”

Constable Nickroy Neish, who placed second in the competition, told the Observer that his wife and three-year-old daughter were at home watching the ceremony online and were overcome with joy as he collected a trophy and a cheque.

Motivational sessions he has been providing for at-risk youth earned him the second-place finish.

“I have worked hard and I have been dedicated, going beyond and above the call of duty, and it has propelled me this far. There are over 12,000 rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and for me to be second in this competition, it is a great honour. I am elated and excited,” he said.

“My daughter and my wife texted me every 10 minutes. They sent me messages of congratulations. My colleagues have been motivated by me reaching thus far and they have been congratulating me as well,” Neish added.

“I am from Greenvale in Manchester; I have motivational sessions with the youth there. We are moving into having business motivational sessions where we encourage the youth to start a business. With this award I will now be leaning back on Lasco to help me push this idea forward,” said Neish, who is assigned to the Area Three Manchester Highway Patrol Division.

Sergeant Florezel Thompson, the third-place finisher, said that the future of Jamaica’s police force is in good hands. He described the work of the first- and second-place winners as exceptional.

“I am considered one of the brightest in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and to have the youngsters beat me it shows that they are not normal. There are some good police around that will save Jamaica,” he said.

“My main project is the Tourism Ambassador Programme where we go out there and train people and make them aware of the value of the tourism product. We are working on a project in Port Royal where we are training people to interact with tourists and be good ambassadors for Jamaica. We do some work in Trench Town, and we are currently doing work in Kingston Western,” he told the Observer.

He added that he has been a policeman for 25 years and over that time he and his colleagues have faced numerous challenges on the job. However, he regards serving his country as an honour.