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Cop's gun was seized a day before alleged suicide

Published:Wednesday | July 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

Western Bureau:

It would appear that colleagues did not pay sufficient attention to some obvious warning signs prior to the alleged suicide of Senior Superintendent Dermot Lawrence, who was found hanging by the neck from the staircase inside the Mango Walk, Montego Bay, home of his estranged wife.

According to a senior police source, the day before Lawrence's death, he appeared quite erratic when the police responded to reports that he had fired his service pistol at the location where his body was found.

"Some officers went to the house in response to reports of gunfire, and when they got there, he (Lawrence) told them that he had accidentally discharged the weapon," the lawman said. "The officers did not feel comfortable leaving him with the gun because he appeared to be in an erratic mood, so they took the weapon from him for safekeeping.

"It is a pity they did not go one step further and take him to get the professional health he obviously needed because it was quite obvious, based on what I have since heard, that he was not himself," added the lawman.

In the immediate aftermath of Lawrence's death, another senior police told The Gleaner that Lawrence was having challenges in his personal life, but he never expected him to have done what he allegedly did.

"I have been hearing that he was having domestic issues, but as a man who is trained to handle stressful situations, I never expected him to do anything like that," the senior cop said.




Last Saturday, the Police High Command renewed an appeal to the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to seek help when they are undergoing stress.

"We are mindful of the intense stressors of the job and the impact these can have on our members' personal lives and performance," the High Command said.

"We, therefore, implore our members to avail themselves of the mechanisms that the organisation has established to cater to their overall well-being, to include three main support systems: the Volunteer Pastors Programme, the Chaplaincy Unit, and the Medical Services Branch," the released added.

Lawrence, a 37-year-veteran of the JCF, had served as the commanding officer for both the Hanover and Westmoreland police divisions At the time of his death, he was the senior officer in charge of administration at the Area One Headquarters in Montego Bay.