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JCF commander heads Special Olympics fund-raiser

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay lives to serve others and is committed to bettering the world for present and future generations. As the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF’s) Divisional Commander for St Mary — one of six women to hold such a high leadership post in the force — Lindsay has demonstrated this through the close police-community partnerships she has helped forge, and which have helped reduce major crime in the parish.

She was recently presented with another opportunity to touch lives and make positive differences: her appointment as regional director for Region 13 of the International Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics and a member of the LETR International Council.

“When I joined the LETR in 1996 it was a job that I had to do. But today, working through LETR and Special Olympics is a passion for me, just knowing that I serve a group of people who really appreciate the little things we do to make a difference,” says Lindsay, who has previously served the LETR as a coordinator at the divisional and branch levels and chaired the LETR 5K committee at the JCF's Community Safety Branch.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run, which began in the United States in 1981, is the Special Olympics's largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle. It is an actual running event, in which police officers and athletes run with the Flame of Hope to the opening ceremonies of Special Olympics competitions to raise funds globally. Annually, more than 85,000 dedicated volunteer law enforcement officers across 46 nations participate in the Torch Run, and have raised more than US$50m for the Special Olympics since inception.

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Her appointment, which was announced at the LETR Conference convened in the Bahamas, October 1- 4, 2015, is a nod of honour to her 19 years of volunteer service to the LETR and takes on even more significance given that it is the first time in the LETR's history that a regional director has been appointed from the Caribbean region.

“Being a part of the Torch Run is a sense of accomplishment, knowing that through my work as a police officer I have an opportunity to support persons with intellectual disabilities by partnering with Special Olympics Jamaica, and now regionally, to raise funds and create awareness about the abilities and work of these special individuals,” says the 25-year veteran of the JCF.

 Lindsay will oversee 27 countries as she acts as a liaison between the Law Enforcement International Council and the countries within the region, and ensures a vibrant LETR movement by encouraging all countries to become involved.  

It sounds like a huge undertaking for someone whose portfolio within the JCF mandates her to prevent and solve crimes, and keep communities safe. However, Superintendent Lindsay, with the support of Commissioner of Police, Dr Carl Williams, embraces the challenge and assures balanced and quality attention will continue to be given to both her roles. In fact, she is confident that the new role will enhance her performance as superintendent and help to foster better police/citizen relationships.

“I once saw a quote that said ‘as police officers the community does not care how much we know, until they know how much we care'. LETR is a good platform to demonstrate that, as a superintendent, I am able to mobilise my officers and members of the community and the business partners to give of their time and money to support a group of persons who would not normally be celebrated,” superintendent Lindsay said.

She adds: “This will showcase the humanitarian side of the police, increase our local community partnerships and change the negative perception of the police that is held by many, especially those who have never had a personal encounter (good or bad) with the police. I inherited a division with a strong community/police relationship where a number of community partners support their local police. I want to continue that tradition and welcome every opportunity that will bring the citizens and the police together in a positive way.”

Superintendent Lindsay will serve LETR regional director for Region 13 for two years.

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