Crime to be reduced!


Fatal shootings by the police are expected to be reduced with the handing over of 3,500 non-lethal kits to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) yesterday, a donation from the Embassy of the United States of America.

This would be an example of what not to do in a lead that I would show to my students. I would actually refer to this as a press release rather than a news story. If this story were about a kitten that walked from Spanish Town to Montego Bay in search of his owner, or the largest coconut in Jamaica, I would welcome a fluff piece. But when it comes to national security and the use of potentially deadly weapons (mace can be fatal), fluff pieces are dangerous. Reporters here seem to forget that they are performing a public service, upholding a pillar of democracy, which is unfortunate.

As usual, more questions than answers with this Jamaica Gleaner story.

  • Why will fatal shootings be reduced?
  • What is a “non-lethal kit”?
  • Will this create more risk to police officers?
  • What kind of training do they receive?
  • “Non-lethal kits” are already in use- how much have fatal shootings been reduced?
  • How does the use of these kits fit in with the overall crime reduction strategy?
  • Why did the Embassy decide to make this donation?
  • Will police officers still carry guns? How do they make the decision on how to protect themselves?

I could go on. If only the media were doing their job…

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