Fun with the JCF
I love Jamaican police and I don’t even know why. None of them (except ONE) have ever gone out of their way to be friendly, say hi or even smile! It must be the stereotypical “man in uniform” thing. In my opinion and compared to North American police their uniforms are quite formal and I like it. Even their name, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), is quite proper. I guess it’s the old British influence.
In all my trips I’ve only ever had two run-ins with police; one good and one pretty neutral. Guess I’ll start with the good one first.
On my VERY first trip waaaay back in 2003 I was traveling with several music artists. This is because I won my first trip and was going to Jamaica specifically for a concert where several of the artists were Canadian. The reggae artist Snow, traveled to Negril with us, stayed at the same hotel and came to all the clubs with us. He hired a JCF officer privately for security, so the officer accompanied us everywhere too. I never even noticed him until the end of the trip when the quiet man actually said “hi” LOL. We chatted, exchanged contact info, then I left Jamaica.
I kept in touch with the officer immediately after I got home because I fell in love with the country and KNEW I’d be back very soon! It ended up being only 2 months later, many thanks to the officer who offered me free accommodations. It was perfect! I had a free place to stay and it was election time in Jamaica so he pretty much worked 24/7.
To make a long story short, I lived in the police community of Llandillo (Westmoreland) for 7 days and it was awesome! I’ll go into more detail in a different post about living with locals.
My second run-in with the JCF was on my trip in December 2008, quite a spread between police run-ins LOL. And it wasn’t even my problem. Actually there was NO problem except a misunderstanding and an officer with no personality. A Jamaican friend of ours was driving us to Ocho Rios from Negril, where we’d stayed a few nights. So we had all our luggage packed in the car and was visible in the back seat.
We had to drive by the police station in Ochi to get to our guest house, where there just happened to be a motorcycle officer directing traffic. Right after we passed him he hopped on his bike and proceeded to follow us, signaling to pull over. For a split second I was like “Oh no.what now?” But I knew we’d done nothing wrong so no big deal. I actually laughed because I knew this would be one more thing to include in a trip report!
He told us to go park at the station across the street. Once there our driver got out and stood in front of the car where the officer and him conversed about something, I couldn’t hear. Plus I was busy asking other police to pose for pictures, heehee. After a few minutes and some exchange of papers, it turns out the officer just thought our friend was transporting us illegally, because of the luggage in the back seat. Taxis have red license plates, regular cars have white plates and its not very common for tourists to be riding with locals in a white-plate car. But some Jamaicans try to transport tourists to make extra money.
Anyways the officer sent us on our way without incident once he found out our driver was our friend, and I got all the pictures for this blog post!
UPDATE (in 2013)
I’ve had MANY run-ins with police since this blog post was posted in 2009. And I STILL love them even if they haven’t loved me!