Tue | Jun 6, 2023

‘A noble way to serve my country’

Young constable proud to follow in dad’s footsteps

Published:Wednesday | March 1, 2023 | 1:30 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Felicia Walker (centre) is surrounded by relatives as they give support to her son, Michael Hassock Jr, who graduated from the National Police College on Tuesday.
Michael Hassock Jr shares a moment with his father and role model, Michael Sr, who is also a police officer, at the young constable’s graduation ceremony in Twickenham Park, St Catherine, on Tuesday.

Michael Hassock Jr was elated on Tuesday to know that his father, who still serves as an active police officer and has been his role model, was able to attend his graduation despite not being able to see him collect his certificate after losing his sight.

Hassock was among 282 men and women who received their certificates of achievement after completing eight months of rigorous training at the National Police College in Twickenham Park, St Catherine.

The 20-year-old newly minted police officer told The Gleaner that his desire to serve and protect his fellow Jamaicans was born out of the passion he witnessed in his father, Michael Hassock Sr, who himself had graced the same parade grounds some 21 years ago.

The senior Hassock had an accident on the job while serving in active duties that caused him to lose his sight, and even though Hassock Jr witnessed the pain and trauma his father experienced during his recovery, he never had second thoughts about the journey he wants to take.

“Despite what my father experienced, my intention to become a police officer was predestined. The way he walks and talks was so different and these attributes were inspiring to me,” Hassock Jr told The Gleaner.

“Even though he is not seeing right now, he remains my biggest cheerleader and continues to be supportive of my desire to follow in his footsteps,” he added.

His only regret was that his father couldn't physically see him demonstrating the same tactical manoeuvres on the parade ground that he once performed.

Hassock Jr said despite the challenges of crime and violence that confront police officers daily, he maintains a strong desire to serve his country.

“I think being a police officer is a noble way to serve one country. I want to do so by helping to rid the country of crime and violence,” he declared.

The moment was not lost on his father or his mother, Felicia Walker, who displayed a placard with Michael and two other siblings with the inscription, “We love you, Michael”.

Hassock Sr said even though he could not physically see what was taking place, he was able to relive his own experience on the same parade ground two decades ago.

“I am elated. I couldn't see him physically, but what I did under the tent was to relive when I was out there on the drill square in the piping hot sun, saying to myself, 'Today, I am a police officer',” he told The Gleaner.

“I am feeling good because I know that, in his mind, he would have been saying the same thing. I am really proud he has made it so far,” Hassock Sr said of his son.

He said that despite his accident 17 years after being on active duty – three of those years in Kingston and 14 in Portland – he enjoys being a police officer.

“I would have gone through a lot. I would have seen a lot. It would have been challenging, even mentality, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed it and know it is a good work. I love crime fighting and I taught him a lot about crime fighting,” revealed the senior Hassock.

He said that it was very hard on his son when the accident occurred, especially since at the time, he was studying for his exams.

“Despite this, he said to me, 'Daddy, you represented your country well and as such, I told you a long time ago and, indeed, I am going to follow your footsteps',” he said.

Walker was equally elated by the idea of her son graduating as a police officer. Her screams and shouts of “We love you, son” echoed across the parade square as she cheered him on.

“I am very proud of my son. He is a true leader. He is determined; he is very optimistic. Being here today to share in this is a milestone, and I am really giving God thanks for it,” she told The Gleaner.