Police commissioner targets unstable cops

KINGSTON, Jamaica: In the wake of the deadly shooting rampage by one of his own, Jamaican police commissioner Owen Ellington has instructed that officers who show signs of emotional instability are to be disarmed of their service and personal firearms.

This decree from the head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) came swiftly following the deadly shooting spree last Thursday by Corporal Wayne Llewellyn, which resulted in his estranged wife now battling for her life in hospital, while his stepdaughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law and brother-in-law are now dead.

In his statement on the new measure, Commissioner Ellington said: “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 counselling and therapeutic sessions when referred, and failing to respond positively within a reasonable time to counselling or therapeutic sessions supervised by the medical services and/or Chaplaincy Branch.

“Commanding officers are to ensure that a review mechanism is established to examine each case before disarming a member, as also before re-issuing the member with a firearm. It may, however, be necessary to take immediate action in relieving a member of his/her firearm if the circumstance merits same.”

However, this new measure will call for extreme vigilance by those in charge as, by all accounts, Corporal Llewellyn showed little sign of instability in the work place. 

Assistant Commissioner Derrick Cochrane, the Commanding Officer for Area Three, comprising the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth where Llewellyn was posted, is on record as saying that the officer’s work demeanor was at odds with the description of his friends and family members.

“Although he was an introvert, he told colleagues that his wife had moved back home and that he was receiving counselling from his pastor at church. He was a churchgoing guy. So you can imagine the shock and disbelief when they realized that he was identified as the cop involved in the murders and suicide.

“His colleagues knew he was having matrimonial problems and his wife had moved back home in March. He said he was receiving counselling and told them all was well. However, the JCF itself has a structure in place to look at the emotional well-being of the policemen and women at the area, divisional and station levels, plus a hotline. My information is that he did not seek access to any of the facilities offered by the police,” said Cochrane. 

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