Pubdate: Mon, 06 Nov 2006
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2006 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle Editor


The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) will tomorrow mark its 20th 
anniversary in Jamaica, and the man reputed to be the 'Father of 
Community Policing' will be guest speaker at the awards gala.

Dr. Lee Brown is a fitting choice for keynote speaker considering 
that AmCham is still basking in the afterglow of the success of a 
murder-free year in the Grants Pen community where his philosophy is practised.

He told The Gleaner that he will tell his audience about the power of 
community policing, having gained a worldwide reputation in community policing.

Big Difference

"I will share the evolution of that concept and how it actually 
works, plus the benefits that can be derived from making it the 
dominant policing style for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)."

He said the concept worked in Houston, Texas, and he took it to New 
York, and many other cities, but he wants to ensure that having 
started the movement, it is understood.

"It is important for the wider Jamaican society to understand that by 
making fundamental changes in how the JCF goes about its business, it 
makes a big difference in the community," he said.

With reference to the success in Grants Pen, Brown said the change in 
policing methods proved him right.

The former drug czar said now that he's retired, he consults with 
several states outside his home base in Houston, as well as South 
Africa, and he just returned from Nigeria.

"Several years ago, I also lectured police commissioners from the 
Caribbean on the concept," he said, expressing a desire to see what's 
happening in Grants Pen first-hand during his visit.


Asked about his stint as drug czar, Brown said during his tenure in 
the Clinton administration, his success came as a result of changing 
the national drug control strategy.

Prior to his time, most of the focus was placed on interdiction and 
enforcement. Under his leadership, emphasis was on reducing demand, 
education, treatment and prevention.

"My belief is that if there is no demand, there can be no supply. The 
greatest challenge is to get people to stop using drugs and the 
international challenge is to get producers to stop.

"But they will continue as long as they have a market. If we could 
dry up the market with prevention, education and treatment, there 
would be no demand," Brown said.

But has the focus shifted post-9/11 and fighting the drug war is no 
longer as important as border security and fighting terrorism?

Brown thinks the problem is still just as big, if not bigger, because 
now there is the addition of metamphetamines and the meth labs are everywhere.

"There are now other priorities and the focus now is on homeland 
security, and rightly so," he said.

The drug war is still being fought, Brown says, but it's not making 
big headlines since 9/11.

Of the Iraq war, Brown says he hopes it is resolved soon to stem the 
loss of American sons and daughters.

He still maintains a great relationship with former President Bill 
Clinton and of the speculation regarding former first lady Hillary 
Clinton as a possible presidential candidate on 2008, having worked 
closely with her in the past, Brown says he has great respect for her.

"I don't have any information on her plans, but I think she would do 
a good job were she to get the nod. She has experience having been in 
the White House and worked on several projects. She is now a senator 
and she has the best adviser in her husband."

No Political Future

On the other hand, Brown, who served as a mayor of Houston, harbours 
no future political ambitions.

"I have been a career law enforcement officer from the street beat to 
the White House, so I do not have any aspirations for another 
political office," he said.

Instead, he wants to use his time in knowledge sharing and assisting 
others. He is now writing a book on community policing and wants to 
share that with community leaders and students of law enforcement.

"I know what went into the concept and I don't want people to 
misunderstand it, so it's in its final few chapters."

Meanwhile, as America goes to the polls tomorrow, he reflects on the 
campaign and told The Gleaner that there is a lot at stake now with 
the Democrats confident of taking over Congress and the Senate.

"Many negative things will happen because it is politics. However, 
when I ran my campaign, I had a simple model of letting people vote 
on the issues. The major ones should be concerns about an uptick in 
the crime rate.

"We need to get on top of that before it gets out of hand; we cannot 
afford to lose lost ground."

Generational Problems

Brown understands the role of good fathers and their importance in 
the lives of young boys. But with so many fathers failing their 
children, he thinks we are now seeing generational problems where one 
group follows the next in not being responsible.

"Anyone can make a baby but it takes a man to care for the child," he said.

His advice to fathers is that they are obligated to and responsible 
for their children.

"I would say to them, even though you may not have had a father, you 
must help your children to become educated and productive members of society."

His greatest achievement is the honour of being the first law 
enforcement officer to serve in the Cabinet of the President of the 
United States of America.

Education the Key

Coming from a background where his family had no running water and 
was very poor, it was his mother's insistence on a good education 
that was the key to his success.

"When young people see me, they see the performance, not the 
rehearsal. Life is a performance; you have to prepare and rehearse 
and the key is education."

Having successfully campaigned for better pay for cops during his 
time as an officer, Brown is of the view that although salaries are 
now much better than before, there is still room for improvement.

"There are two very critical sets of professionals in society: cops 
and educators. Both are not adequately compensated. Teachers educate 
and perpetuate our civilisation. Police officers protect us so that 
we can enjoy quality life. We give them such significant 
responsibility but we don't pay them accordingly.

"Police now have to work extra jobs to supplement their income, so 
they don't have to worry about feeding their families."
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MAP posted-by: Elaine