Having stumbled into the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) due to his passion for cricket, Deputy Commissioner of Police (D/CoP) Raymond Patrick Charles has bowed out after giving 36 years of unblemished service.
Lead by Commissioner of Police Willan Thompson, rank and file members of the RGPF bade farewell to Charles during a grand ceremony at the SSU compound last Friday.
But for the man himself, it was with bittersweet emotions he reminisced the 36 years of service.
“Sweet as I say goodbye to stress and welcome to rest, or… goodbye tension, welcome pension,” he said.
He said however there is some bitterness in having to say a formal goodbye to an organization that reflects his identity, and one that runs through his veins.
D/CoP Charles said it was not by accident that he joined the RGPF on January 4, 1976.
“It was basically for my love of cricket,” he said.
The retired Police Officer said having been a member of the national team he was only allowed one of the three trial matches before the team was selected.
He said he saw the need to move somewhere else where he can have the opportunity to play cricket.
Charles served in a number of areas including the Regional Police Training Centre in Barbados as an instructor, Criminal Investigation Department, and a stint in Prosecution before rising to the level of second in command.
Charles spoke of the 36 years journey not being easy but that he stood for principle and gave everything to the best of his ability.
He said that upon reflection he has seen the transformation of the RGPF from an alleged rag-tag bunch of officers, stigmatized substance abusers without pay to an organization focused on the tasks of national security and law enforcement.
Charles hopes he has impacted the organization just as some of the members have impacted him.
“I have seen the Force moved from policing by accident to policing by intention guided by a Strategic Plan,” he said.
D/CoP Charles said he dreams of the day when law enforcement and national security would get the respect and resources to maximize their true potential.
The retired Police Officer also spoke to the need for proper accommodation and the welfare of the rank and file to be comparable with the rest of the public sector.
However, he admonished the men and women in uniform to remember that the safety and security of the nation is more important than the individual.
“Protect the integrity of the organization because it is the foundation of our legitimacy. Respect our social contract with the public and treat them fairly, it is important that we do that. Continue to be impartial, compassionate and understanding in the application of your awesome power and authority. I urge you to use it to protect and empower the masses, and never to abuse or marginalize,” he told colleagues.
The Retired Deputy Commissioner had a cordial relationship with Commissioner Thompson.
Charles advised him to embrace the Executive Team and afford them the opportunity to share in his dreams for the RGPF.
He also commanded the Commissioner to be attentive to the needs of his troops, and to champion their cause.
Commissioner Thompson believes D/CoP Charles was probably one of the most well known Police Officers of his day and generation.
He said he first encountered the retired Police Officer who was the then Instructor at the Police Training School in July 1985 after having been recruited into the ranks of the RGPF as a Cadet Officer.
The Commissioner said working along with D/CoP in the Eastern Division provided him with a further opportunity to enhance their relationship.
Commissioner Thompson described the retired Deputy as an administrator, a meticulous investigator, a father figure, a mentor and a teacher.
As a young Police Officer, D/CoP Charles was assigned the policing number 442, and after his initial training was posted to several geographical areas within the State of Grenada, and several departments within the RGPF.
In 1981 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal, moved up to Sergeant in 1984, by May 1986 he was an Inspector, in November 1990 he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Police, on December 1, 1997 he was promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Police.
On November 21, 2005 he achieved the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, and Deputy Commissioner of Police March 6, 2006.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dowlin Bartholomew who cited the highlights of Charles’ service to the RGPF felt that he touched many persons in different ways.
ACP Bartholomew said the retired Policeman served on several occasions as the Commissioner.
D/CoP Charles whose tenure ended on May 24 precedes four other Police Officers who joined the RGPF at the same time with him.
They are Superintendents Ruben Maitland, and Frank Philbert, and Assistant Superintendents Ifrus McGillivary, and Kirabe Belfon.