‘I am proud to have served’
31-year veteran, singer Omi, retiring dog among those saluted with JCF awards
When Annetta Newell completed her secondary education at Clarendon College over three decades ago, she was seeking adventure and action but most importantly, the teenager wanted to serve her country.
She joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) on the cusp of 19 years old and has since worked in the Kingston Western division, at the mobile reserve, and at the remand centre.
The sergeant was among 162 members of the force who received the JCF Medal of Honour for Long Service and Good Conduct at the Police Officers’ Club on Thursday afternoon.
It has been a rewarding 31 years working with the Jamaican citizenry, the majority of which Newell spent in Kingston Western.
“I’ve worked with those we call outcasts and helped them to come back around in Kingston Western. Hannah Town. I’ve worked with that group – set up a learning centre there before it met its unfortunate accident with the Tivoli incursion. We had children working out of our police station, learning to read and write, and it was always heartfelt to see those who could not read, [learn to] read and read properly,” she said, beaming with pride.
Newell recalled being asked by a colleague how she managed to deal with all that was happening around her and appeared to remain unfazed.
“It is called accept, deal with, and leave what must be left, but carry on with those that must be carried on with,” she explained of her work-life balance.
She told The Gleaner that she was elated to be recognised by the JCF and would continue to serve diligently.
For his consistent public advocacy and selfless devotion to the mission and work of the JCF, singer Omar ‘Omi’ Pasley was presented with a citation by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson.
“In this regard, Omi saluted the work of the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in 2019 with the penning and release of To Serve and Protect, a brilliant essay on the vital necessity of the JCF to the life and well-being of the nation,” the citation said.
Pasley enlisted in the ranks of the JCF in June 2009 and told The Gleaner that he served for three years, eight months and 13 days.
“I am proud to have served this noble institution. This is certainly unexpected, but I do welcome it because I had a passion for my job while I was serving. and I still do have a passion for serving my country, just in a different capacity now,” he said.
He explained that during his training and tenure, he developed discipline and adopted the attributes of a constable, which have since guided him in all his endeavours.
“I would encourage young people to join the JCF. If you apply that discipline through all aspects of your life, it’s very hard to fail,” Pasley said.
The closing curtain of the awards ceremony brought joy to the audience, especially the children, as service dog Chad was recognised for outstanding work in the area of cadaver detection and search and rescue.
A Jamaica-bred dog, the Labrador has served his entire life as a member of the Canine Division.
“Chad’s eager attention to his job brought hope to many families as he gave support in the search for missing persons and in the aftermath of natural disasters.
“Equally exceptional is his record in cadaver detection, which stood at 10 at the close of his career. Chad’s nose did more than find bodies. He brought the salient relief that closure brings to anxious families, and with it, the added promise of justice to be served,” the citation read in part.
The discovery of the bodies of two American missionaries in St Mary in 2016 and the discovery of the remains of nine-year-old Kyle Richards, who was swept away by floodwaters in the Goldsmith Villa gully on September 29, 2019, are among the notable cases that bear the footprint of the service dog, who will be entering retirement.
“Age has slowed the vivacity of Chad’s movement and dulled the lustre of his coat, but he maintains his trademark glimmer of eagerness in his eyes, especially for his handlers, Constable Damion Smith and Constable Shavar Manning,” the citation said.
In his remarks, Anderson congratulated the awardees for their hard work and said that the process has begun to expand the number of awards to recognise JCF members.
“By the next awards ceremony, we should have some additional awards in place, and we should see the first recipients of those awards. You will hear more about that as they go through the process of getting them made and recognised in the Jamaican context,” Anderson said.
The awards were initially sanctioned by the National Honours and Awards Act 1969, and thousands of recipients have been awarded since its inception.