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No guns for mentally unstable cops

Friday, September 07, 2012 | 9:07 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Police Commissioner Owen Ellington has Commanding Officers to disarm cops under their supervision who display signs of mental or emotional instability.

Speaking in this week's force orders Ellington said those cops should not be allowed to carry service weapons or their licensed firearms.

"This procedure should be applied in instances where the member(s) has/have a history or strong suspicion of mental instability; alcoholism; substance abuse; intemperate habits; tendency to be quarrelsome and/or abusive; spousal or family abuse; protracted domestic or family-based dispute; making threatening and menacing utterances or action without lawful justification; failing to attend counseling and therapeutic sessions when referred and failing to respond positively within a reasonable time to counseling or therapeutic sessions supervised by the Medical Services and/or Chaplaincy Branches etc," he said.

Ellington said the measure is intended to protect families, colleagues and members of the public from tragic occurrences.

He ordered Commanding Officers to ensure that a review mechanism is established to examine each case before dis-arming or re-arming cops.

"With immediate effect staff meetings at all levels must elevate the agenda item of Staff Welfare to that of ‘priority’ for discussion and action. There should be no delay in responding to welfare issues, either by way of action at the level reported or referral to a higher level," he said.

Cops who show signs of mental or emotional instability can receive counseling and other services from the constabulary's Chaplaincy Service, the Medical Services Branch, Human Resource Branch, Welfare Section of Community Safety and Security Branch, Personnel Division and Staff Associations.

"Commanding Officers are to have regular consultations with the Medical Service and Chaplaincy Branches and make referrals to these entities on a timely basis. Members who are dis-armed and referred to the Medical and Chaplaincy Services Branches are to be accompanied by a senior along with a report prepared by the members’ Commanding Officer for the guidance of the personnel at the Medical Services and Chaplaincy Branches," he said.

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