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A young cop is leading them

ASP Throyville Haughton injects a freshness into Ocho Rios police

BY RENAE DIXON Sunday Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 09, 2014    

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YOUNG, dynamic, vibrant and enthusiastic are just a few words used to describe the youthful head of the Ocho Rios Police.

At age 30, Assistant Superintendent of Police Throyville Haughton is the youngest police officer to head that division.

With his love for policing and his dedication, many are expecting him to bring his best to the major tourism town and although it is a huge challenge, ASP Haughton is prepared to deliver.

But while he is dedicated to the task, Haughton revealed that it was not always his intention to join the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

He always wanted a career in agriculture, but when he went to the Alexandria Police Station to do his 200 hours in the JAMVAT programme, the then student of the Brown's Town Community College fell in love with the constabulary.

"Before then I knew very little about the police force but getting some amount of intimate knowledge about what the police do and seeing how they operate and the role they play in the community, I fell in love with the organisation," he said.

"I had no intention of becoming a member of the force then," he admitted.

Haughton highlighted that many people only hear about the negatives of the JCF and so have no intention of joining the organisation. Although he did not view the JCF in a negative light, he was not one who gravitated towards it.

"What they (people) hear is the negative perception of what happens in the organisation. A lot of persons who have some amount of hostility or aggression towards the police have never had a bad experience with the police. A lot of them don't know what the organisation is all about. I think I was one of those persons not hostile towards the police but I was just not interested," he said.

At age 18, the past student of Aabuthnott Gallimore High School enlisted in the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Almost 12 years later, the young man from rural St Ann finds himself in charge of the Ocho Rios police division, darting up the ranks through the Accelerated Promotion Programme.

Since joining the JCF, ASP Haughton has sought to upgrade himself and so the police leader is also a trained educator.

Although a well-educated policeman and having served in St Catherine and in the Narcotics Division before journeying to Ocho Rios, becoming head of the division is a big challenge for Haughton.

When he was asked to lead the division, ASP Haughton admitted that he thought long and hard about the fact that he would be younger than many of whom he would lead and wondered what sort of challenge that would pose.

"I thought about it when I was asked to come here. How is it that I am going to be leading persons who are police officers up to 10 years before I was born?" he said.

However, being the young and vibrant leader, he realised the importance of teamwork and that he needed to consult those with experience and not be merely the boss "with a big stick".

Being younger than most of whom he leads, the task is great for him. However, it is one that he has been undertaking with dignity. He believes that showing respect is a big part of his leadership.

"We have to understand that an organisation is made up of people and so we are people first. We are civilians before we are police officers," he pointed out.

While everyone may not like him, Haughton believes that as a leader, respect is important.

"If you respect the people you work with, make time for them and they see that you genuinely care about them and that what you are doing is best for everybody, then persons will respond to you favourably," he said

Not only is it a challenge to lead persons older but as a young leader, the community is expecting him to have brilliant ideas

for the development of the area, regarding security.

"Everybody has this expectation," he said.

"You must be brilliant; there has to be something about you that causes you to be in this position and it puts you under pressure because nobody is expecting you to make a mistake; everybody is expecting you to be perfect," he said.

He believes that with the support of the team and with the type of person that he is, he will be able to serve the people to the best of his ability. He also believes in learning from others. And as the leader, he always ensures that he can be approached by all.

Haughton has one of the largest contingents of police personnel assigned to any station. He also supervises two other stations in the division.

"Everybody has expectations," he reiterated.

However, the jovial leader stated: "Above all the challenges, I love the job and I love the people. I am interested in the community becoming peaceful, organised and I think that is what drives me every day."

He said that he wants to increase the level of professionalism among those he leads, creating a different kind of image for the JCF.

"I love St Ann. I like policing. There are a couple of things that will work well for me; I was here before I knew the place and I am a people person. I get along with everybody," he stated.

While there are deviants in the community, ASP Haughton believes that "the community is very much appreciative of the police, once you deal with them professionally, and involve them in what you doing.

"What I would love to see is the organisation value its members as the most important resources and that whatever plans and strategies you have, without the human resources being capable, without their capacity being built to a particular level, then whatever you try to do will not work," he stated.

"If we don't get the support from the community then the strategies won't work either. What I would love to see is a much more efficient team," he stated.

Haughton said that he loves his team, describing the members as "willing, hardworking people" involved in the fight against crime and violence.

"They respect me as their leader and one of the things I try to do is to engage everyone collectively and individually."

As the leader, he tries to leave his door open to give everyone a chance to be involved in what happens.

"There are some needs where training is concerned but they are very much up to the task and I love them," he stated.

ASP Haughton considers himself a decisive leader who works well under pressure and who is not afraid to operate on the road, instead of being in office most of the time.

"I love a community that grows to understand the importance of security, because regardless of what business plan you have out there, regardless of what you are planning to do, without order in the society, it really will come to naught," he said.

Haughton said that he wants the public to be aware of the role that the police play. However, he believes that the role of the police is also to show them that. This is why he encourages his team to interact with the public and to educate them regarding the reasons the police do some things.

"That is why I tell them 'Don't be afraid to talk to people. When you are out there tell them why you are doing things; tell them what they are not supposed to do. Help them to understand how their actions impact the community," Haughton said.

Being in the force since November 2002, Haughton believes that the opportunity for development and growth in the organisation is endless.

"I don't think any member has exhausted 50 per cent of the opportunities that the organisation has to offer. You can't outgrow the constabulary," he pointed out.

Although a qualified educator, Haughton believes that his future lies in the JCF.

"The more I learn about it, the more I appreciate it. All I have is the organisation. I have never worked for anybody else," he said.

"As much as you go to school and learn about policing and managing, you have to strike a balance. A lot is left to your discretion at times. It is important to police with a heart," he outlined.

While Haughton has turned out to be a productive member of society, he pointed out that he did not always have a father figure in the home and much of what he learnt was from the men in his community.

He was the second of six children for his mother who died tragically when he was only nine years old and so he was raised by a grand-aunt.

"I didn't grow up with my father," he said, revealing that he was later able to establish a relationship with his dad during his adult years.

"The community fathered me. I would pay attention to the men in the community -- how they interacted with their kids and how the kids interacted with their fathers. I had an idea of what the father should be, who he should be and what he should do," he said.

He said that he watched the men in his community and learnt from them.

According to him, "they weren't all perfect but I watched and pick out what I should do and what I should not do."

While disappointed, Haughton said that he does not hate his father but has learnt from his experience growing up without him around.

"I wouldn't wish it for anybody, because fathers are supposed to be around," he stated.

"When you leave a father's responsibility to anybody else, there is no guarantee as to how the child will turn out," Haughton emphasised.

He believes that he was fortunate to be from a good family background, "not the richest, but one where everyone stuck together.

"What you would want is for the fathers to be there. Fathers have a whole lot of influence on the family and on the community. Men are created to lead and I think we are giving that up for so many reasons to include drugs and gambling," he said.

"I don't think the responsibility should be left to others, but wherever a father fails or if a father is absent, whether by death or otherwise, the community should help to grow the child," he went on.

He believes that everyone in the community has a role to play in the development of the youth.

While many have a bad perception of the JCF he believes that it is still possibly the best organisation in the country. It is his dream that many will recognise the JCF for the role that it plays in society.

"One of my dreams is that persons will grow to see the force for what it is, what it can be," said Haughton.

He also wants members of the organisation to understand this and work towards it.

"At one point, police officers were respected to the ground. I would like for it to get back there not through force or fear but respect, professionalism and service," he added.

While involved in a physical fight against crime and violence, seeking the assistance of God is an integral part of Haughton.

"I pray for my police; sometimes when I am in my office I just pause and say, 'God, take care of them.' It can be dangerous out there and we are human beings; a lot of people don't know that, but we have a lot of challenges. When we get here for work, nobody is interested in the challenges you have, people just want to know that you fix theirs," he stated.

Senior Superintendent Yvonne Martin Daley, head of the St Ann Police, believes in Haughton, having known him since he was a constable.

"He is focused. He loves policing, so he puts his all into everything he does," she said, also referring to him as a young, dynamic, vibrant and enthusiastic police leader.

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