Former acting CoP exits TTPS without fanfare

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, former acting CoP McDonald Jacob speakes at a press conference at Police Administration Building. – File photo/Darren Bahaw

ACTING Commissioner of Police (CoP) McDonald Jacob on Saturday said goodbye to the rank and file of the police service.

He did so in a WhatsApp message to heads and commanding officers which was shared with other officers.

Jacob said it was a pleasure to have been a member of the police service for the last 42 years.

He was appointed to lead the police service after the end of Gary Griffith’s three-year tenure in 2021.

Griffith had accused Jacob of dismantling several initiatives which utilised technology in the fight against crime and under Jacob’s tenure in 2022 the country recorded its highest murder tally of 605. The Opposition had been critical of his performance and accused him of pandering to the ruling PNM.

In a statement on Saturday, Griffith claimed Jacob shut down over 200 policies he implemented and fired the team “that was responsible for the record reductions in crime” during his tenure. He said Jacob “oversaw the worst murder figures in our country’s history, is now advocating that his successor, keeps the policies and procedures that he put in place, after he is gone.”

“So not only is he not showing any remorse for the disastrous and key role he played in getting us to where we are at now, he wants us to remain on course so that the ‘work’ he did to severely damage us, is completed…absolutely insane.”

Jacob is credited for implementing the active, direct grid patrols revamping the highway patrol unit to a task force, splitting the northern division into two for better management and setting up the Special Evidence Recovery Unit in Cumuto to aid in getting faster analysis on firearms and ballistics.

While acknowledging the many challenges he faced during that time, he described his career as a police officer to have been quite pleasurable.

Jacob remained convinced that the police will continue to protect and serve TT to the best of their ability.

“As I take my exit from the TTPS, I am of the firm view that the TTPS consist of many officers with the necessary skills, talent, knowledge and expertise.”

He said, “This will allow the organisation to be further propelled to a continued higher level of professionalism in dealing with the challenges that confront the internal and external environment of the organisation.”

Jacob was opposed to any effort to reinvent the wheel within the service.

“Please do not make the traditional error of looking to start all over as we have already laid the foundation with several initiatives in place that only requires further enhancement which will make TT a safer place.”

Jacob said the police must continuously be looked at as “a learning organisation where empowerment and training will be the foundation for our success.”

He urged all police officers “to continue and even more aggressively, support the administration now led by (acting) CoP Erla Christopher which is paramount for the triumph of this organisation.”

Jacob said he remains willing to help the police service in any way he can.

“I think you are all aware of my competencies and I standby willing to provide the assistance any one may require.”

Jacob was appointed a deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in April 2021 by a contract for three years but the Police Service Commission subsequently determined the contract was null and void on the basis that he was still a serving officer, on leave, when he was recruited. He was then given an extension in office under Section 75 of the Police Service Act which had to be evaluated every 12 months before it is extended. Jacob celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday. He had been on vacation since the first weel of December, 2022.

In his place, acting DCP Christopher was appointed.

Christopher faces a similar position as she turns 60 in May and will need Cabinet’s approval to remain in the service beyond that.

Newsday was told that Jacob is expected to seek legal redress if his term as DCP is cut short because of Cabinet’s inaction to extend his tenure.

Legal sources said he will be claiming for the remaining 15 months on his contract as DCP.