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Apr 29, 2019

7 Female Police Officers Charged for Hairstyles

Chester Williams

Seven police female officers have received charge sheets and are to appear before the disciplinary tribunal of the Police Department. They are Aleea Wade, Shantel Berry, Vanessa Kerr, Crystal Morales, Maria Grinage and Sergeant Christine Avila. It stems from an order issued by Commissioner of Police Chester Williams under Standing Order Section seven which addresses issues of uniform and hairstyles of female officers in the force.  The charge sheet delivered late last week, reads that they have wilfully disobeyed a lawful command in violation of the standing orders by virtue of them wearing dreadlocks. In the instance of Sergeant Avila, because of her rank, she is being referred to the Public Services Commission. The officers, we are told, are seeking legal representation and are considering making their case to the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Association which last week chastised the ComPol for his handling of the matter involving the Police Association. Back on April second, Williams told the media that the officers either obey or find employment elsewhere.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police [File: April 2nd, 2019]

“And my thing to the female officers is they all know what the rules were. You cannot go into an organization, knowing what the rules are and expect that you are going to change it when you get there. It is just like the schools that have school rules. If you enroll your child in a school knowing what the rules are you cannot later on want to take the school to court on the basis that they are discriminate against your child because they don’t allow your child to dress in a certain way when in fact you knew before you put your child there. If it is that you don’t agree with the rules of the school then you go to another school. The same principle applies. If they don’t agree with the rules of the police department then seek employment elsewhere. It’s period, full stop. As the Commissioner it is incumbent upon me to ensure that discipline prevails and officers comply with our code of ethics. If we cannot do that as a department then the public cannot expect us to enforce the law out there. We must start from within.”


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