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Police chief announces new positions

Police chief announces new positions

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An experienced journalist who is a former editor of Searchlight Midweek is now an inspector of police, assigned to the Police Public Relations Department.{{more}}

Hawkins Nanton reported for duty at police headquarters in Kingstown yesterday and a Ministry of National Security official said Nanton is expected to strengthen the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force’s public relations department.

Nanton, 33, is the third person to benefit from accelerated promotion or graduate entry into the constabulary — policies introduced two years ago.

The Calder resident holds a Master of Arts degree in communication from Carleton University, Canada; a first class honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in media and communication — specializing in public relations — from the University of the West Indies (UWI); and an honours Diploma in print and online journalism, also from UWI.

Nanton was a 2011 Organization of America States (OAS) Scholarship awardee and the first recipient of the Glen Jackson Memorial Scholarship to pursue studies in media and communication.

Before becoming a cop, he worked as a journalist for 16 years.

He began as an attaché reporter at The News newspaper in 1995, followed by his tenure at SEARCHLIGHT, where he was employed for 12 years.

At SEARCHLIGHT, Nanton moved from reporter to manager of sales and marketing then to assistant editor with primary responsibility for SEARCHLIGHT Midweek.

In his first address as a police officer, Nanton told a media briefing yesterday that he is ready to serve his country.

“I feel thrilled today. It is with tremendous pride that I join the dedicated men and women of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force in serving my country…” he told reporters.

“I am ready and willing to learn from the experience of others because [it] is critical that I learn the outcome of the organisation so that we can develop this law enforcement organisation,” he further said.

Recounting his decision to join the ranks, Nanton recalled attending a career fair at the North Union Secondary School on February 22, 2011.

He said Assistant Superintendent of Police Jonathan Nichols, who heads the Public Relations Department, explained at the fair the benefits of joining the Police Force.

“It was there and then that I left with a compulsion that maybe I should really explore this path…” Nanton said.

He further stated that he was at a stage in his life where he wanted a change in profession to seek new challenges.

Nanton said he brings creativity, work ethic, integrity, and professionalism to the organisation and that he intends to have a long and distinguished career in the Police Force.

“I intend to work in my department, in any department, in any capacity that I may be asked to. I am hoping to join ASP Nichols in bridging the gap between the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and all stakeholders,” Nanton added.

Commissioner of Police Keith Miller said Nanton brings a wealth of experience to the Police Force, having worked 16 years in the media.

“We need a Police Force where persons can give something to the organisation. I am not saying existing members are not giving, but where you can enhance capability, where persons can perform more professionally, we encourage that…” Miller said.

The police chief spoke of his expectation of the new cop.

“I expect him to be a professional policeman. I don’t want anyone from the media to believe the Inspector is going to be their point of contact. If he does that, I will be disappointed,” Miller said.

Three members of the constabulary were also promoted.

Station Sergeant Tekla Andrews became the first woman to be promoted under the policy of accelerated promotion.

Andrews, who has been a cop for over 10 years, was promoted from corporal. She recently completed a degree in criminal justice at Monroe College in the United States.

“I am feeling exhilarated, but I … remain humble because the road is challenging especially for female police officers. I want to remind my colleagues to educate themselves and uphold their integrity,” she said.

Also, Assistant Superintendent Sydney James was promoted from the rank of inspector.

James, who heads the Major Crimes Unit, has been a cop for more than 30 years and was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Department for 26 years.

Benzil Samuel was promoted from station sergeant to assistant superintendent. During his 20 years in the constabulary, he was assigned to the Special Services Unit and the Prime Minister’s Security Detail.

Assistant Superintendent (ASP) of Police Kamecia Blake was the first person to enter the Police Force under the graduate entry.

On October 15, 2010, at age 24, Blake, who has a first class honours Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from UWI and a Master of Science degree in forensic psychology from the University of Portsmouth, became the youngest ASP in the nation’s history.

She was followed by 25-year-old Avianne Smith, who was on December 30, 2011, officially sworn in as a police sergeant.

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