Dream-chasing Lucius Thomas hailed for sterling service
It was a dream that pulled former Commissioner of Police Lucius Thomas from continuing in his first job as a teacher and enlisting in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), where he climbed through the ranks to land the top job in 2005.
Thomas, who served as Jamaica’s 25th commissioner of police for just over two years before retiring in 2007, died last month at age 73.
During a thanksgiving service for the life of the former police chief at the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew on Wednesday, his niece, Inspector Philmar Powell, said that the divine intervention of God spoke to the young Lucius Thomas in an extraordinary way.
At age 20, he had an inspirational dream the night before he was to begin training at the Mico Teachers’ College.
“He related to grandma how he dreamed of seeing his name written in the sky: ‘Lucius Thomas, commissioner of police’ … . Instead of teachers’ college, he went to Harman Barracks, where he took the police test, and the rest was history,” Powell said.
Thomas was a noted lover of family, food, music, sports, and politics.
Powell said that his foray into representational politics, though short-lived, was because of his love for country and his patriotism with a vested interest in youth development.
“That was his way of trying to improve the social well-being of his fellow Jamaicans. In that brief period, he left a positive impression on the persons he met,” Powell said.
The colourful service saw a great outpouring of love and admiration in tributes for the man who gave 38 years of his life to crime fighting and public service.
Mourners reflected on how at different stages of his life, Thomas walked with kings but never lost his common touch.
There were whispers among his former colleagues in the halls and on the church compound that Thomas was arguably Jamaica’s best top cop.
During the eulogy, Assistant Commissioner of Police Donovan Graham outlined Thomas’ journey through the ranks since his enlistment in the JCF in 1969 and serving in several divisions, including the Mobile Reserve, Kingston Central Division, and for more than 25 years at Special Branch.
Thomas was promoted to corporal in 1977, sergeant (1983), inspector (1987), assistant superintendent of police (1989), deputy superintendent of police (1991), superintendent of police (1996), senior superintendent of police (1998), and assistant commissioner of police (1999).
In 2001, he was promoted to deputy commissioner of police in charge of the crime portfolio.
In January 2005, when he was appointed commissioner, he told ACP Graham that one of his sisters had asked if he was crazy to have accepted the job.
Graham said that Thomas embodied the quote of late actor Robert Collier, which says, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”
“It was with such effort that he was able to achieve for himself what many may consider a legendary status within the Jamaica Constabulary Force,” said Graham, who knew Thomas for more than four decades.
Graham said Thomas had unique people management and communication skills and was a blessing to the JCF.
“There were days he dedicated specifically to having members of the rank and file stepping into his office to air their cases individually without having to make an appointment. All those cases were given follow-up attention, and all effort was made to have them resolved,” Graham recalled, adding that Thomas used the first hour of his workday to facilitate non-appointment meetings.
The former top cop was also keen on rewarding members of the force for their hard work, Graham said, and was known for awarding promotions on the spot when he visited stations islandwide.
“Lucius Thomas gave more than he took. He fixed more than he broke. He was a kind that took the time to help a stranger in the rain. There is a place up there for people like you,” Graham said, paraphrasing Gramps Morgan’s 2021 hit song People Like You.
Reverend Devon Dick, who gave the sermon, said life is a mixed bag, but it was obvious that Thomas loved people and people loved him back.
“Sometimes it seems that every good is succeeded by anguish … . Life is a mixed bag … . Use your days wisely. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the entire duty of human beings,” the pastor said.
Thomas was laid to rest at the Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine.