The RCIPS’ newest group of officers officially graduated from training to operational duty on Thursday, 26 September.
The class of twenty-two, the second recruit class of 2019, successfully completed fifteen rigorous weeks of training under the Initial Recruit Foundation Course, which provides a firm grounding in the legal, operational, and fitness aspects of the job. The graduation ceremony officially recognized the end of the foundational training of these 11 females and 11 males, and the true beginning of their careers as police officers.
The recruits range in age from 19 to 41, and hail from various academic and professional backgrounds. The class also includes a former RCIPS civilian staff member and seven former auxiliary constables, who have made the transition to police constable. The new officers have expressed interest in the range of diverse careers the RCIPS has to offer, including criminal investigation, community policing, K-9 and marine, but all have expressed a desire to become assets to the RCIPS and their communities.
Giving his address on behalf of the graduating class, PC 203 Hershell Thompson said that the reality of the training course was nothing near what he and his fellow recruits had been expecting. “There’s no doubt that we challenged ourselves physically and mentally. We constantly strove to overcome our weaknesses and replace them with newfound strength and confidence,” PC Thompson said.
Sharon Graham, head of the Training and Development Unit, spoke of the tremendous growth that she observed in the recruits during the training course. For her, they truly became officers during “Traffic Week,” when they were able to have their first interactions with the public as police constables, conducting traffic stops and issuing traffic tickets, and dealing with all the pressure that entails.
Three of the recruits were given four special awards at the ceremony: PC 253 Delmar Alexander received two awards: Team Spirit and Best in Drill. PC 443 Sherice Williams received the Most Improved award. PC 384 Winsome Anderson, received the Best Academic Student award.
“Policing is a rewarding and noble profession, and the future is bright for those who wish to excel,” said Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne, “I know that there are many careers you could have chosen and many directions your lives could have gone in, but at the end of the day you chose to become police officers, and I thank you for stepping up.”
He encouraged the new officers to always put integrity first when it comes to their work. “Police work is a business of partnership, and partnerships rely on trust,” Commissioner Byrne said. “To be a good officer you must be trusted and rely on your integrity. Your communications with the community must be open and honest. Integrity is about consistency, you must do the right thing at all times, even when no one is watching.”
His Excellency The Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper, congratulated the new recruits on their graduation and welcomed them to the RCIPS. “Policing can be a very challenging but also exciting career and I know that the RCIPS is working hard to connect and engage with communities across the islands. I welcome the continuing focus on community policing and our new recruits will have a big role to play in that.
“I was very pleased to see that among those passing out was again a good contingent of Caymanians, and also 11 female officers, indicating that we are achieving an improving level of gender balance in the recruitment process. I thank each and every one of you for stepping up to the challenge to become sworn police officers, to uphold the laws of the Cayman Islands, protect communities and create a safe environment for people to live, work and visit.”
Now that they have graduated and been assigned to police duties, the new constables are embarking on a tutored phase of on-the-job training with an experienced officer, during which they will be assessed for their suitability for independent patrolling. Continuous assessments throughout their two-year probationary period will follow, until they are eventually confirmed in rank by the Commissioner.
The RCIPS now accepts applications year-round for local police constables on its website at www.rcips.ky. The RCIPS also participates regularly at career fairs around the islands and welcomes any questions about the recruitment process or a career in policing at RCIPSHR@rcips.ky.