Since there are so many public announcements being made in the media about the need for motorists to drive safely and “buckle up;” I began wondering how many law enforcement officers actually wear their seat belts when they are on duty.
Over the past few months, I have been conducting informal and entirely unscientific research to determine how many police officers actually wear seatbelts while driving patrol cars. I look at each police car that passes me. I inspect the driver and the officer as well as the officer in the front passenger seat.
Unfortunately, the officers in every single squad car or community crime watch car I looked at when they drove past me in the past few months was not wearing seat belts. While the seatbelt law is not finalized, it is the safe thing to do when driving. So why aren’t the police officers doing it?
Their actions are no different I suppose from parents who tell their children to do something or behave a certain way, when they themselves behave to the contrary. Or when teachers expect certain behaviours from their students and then turn around and behave in a manner that goes against the code of conduct for teachers.
Anyone in a position of authority or leadership must recognize that they will be held to a higher standard and will be judged more harshly. Police Officers, teachers, coaches and parents are among the most highly scrutinized individuals in most societies.
When a new person is appointed principal or Commissioner of Police, it should not come as a surprise that the community would want to know as much as they can about that individual. Ensuring that the individuals in schools and the wider community are safe is very critical and the individuals taking up the leadership role must stand up to all speculations and criticisms.
So what does happen if the leaders do not make the mark? What should we do when those in authority do not obey their own rules?
Many valid concerns and questions were raised this week over the airwaves with regards to Mrs. Ruby Nottage’s appointment to the Bench. Whether or not Mrs. Nottage is guilty of some criminal act or has knowledge of some illegality has not been determined.
However, the fact that she is sitting in such a seat of authority begs for others to pore over her private and professional life. All too often in this country we push our dirt under the rug hoping others won’t speak publicly of it. It is whispered in corners and in church pews, but no one dares to speak out about the leaders who have such a crucial impact on the daily lives of so many individuals.
Please understand that I am not talking about politicians; for they are not leaders. They make a lot of noise with their verbiage and dribble, but do very little as far as providing positive leadership for the communities they represent.
No, the real leaders of this or any other nation are the teachers, police officers, social workers, nurses, coaches and parents. These are the individuals who try each day to make a difference in the lives of some young child or adolescent.
So when these leaders make a mistake, we all should take notice. When these leaders behave inappropriately, we need to make them accountable. Because it is these leaders who are intimately involved with a nation’s youth and are the driving force behind a new generation of leaders.
I will continue to hold parents, teachers, police officers and coaches to a higher standard. It is important for all of us to export more from the people who are so closely involved with raising our children. And yes, I will continue my search for that squad car with the officer driving buckled up safely in his seat.
About the author:
Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at