Five days after another prison officer was gunned down the Commissioner of Prisons is saying all will be done to protect officers but arming all of them is not the answer.
The call to give prison officers guns has been made on several occasions by the Prison Officers Association.
Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan said the concerns for safety being expressed are valid and are actively being looked into.
But, on the issue of distributing guns to all officers, Pulchan said, “It is not something I would like to give to every single officer.”
He said if he announced that all officers will get guns they would automatically be targetted.
He added that it is a decision to be made based on the risks posed to a particular officer.
He explained that the responsibility that comes with a firearm is “enormous” and he would prefer that candidates for firearms undergo psychological evaluations and risk assessments.
He added that because officers are being targetted, the service has started having patrols by high-risk officers’ houses, along with the necessary safety discussions.
Pulchan said all the legal options are being explored to protect prison officers.
Following the utterances of the Commissioner, Guardian Media sought a response from the Prison Officers Association.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) Gerard Gordon said his association has maintained that “ All officers remain under threat.”
He said the job itself is very dangerous for every officer.
Gordon explained, “it remains a fact that many officers have been murdered and no direct threat was made on their lives but died as a direct result of their job of being a prison officer.”
He said the association will continue to advance for several things it believes can help officers enjoy a higher level of safety for officers outside of the HDC (Housing Development Corporation) and a law enforcement protection act.
Last Friday 48-year-old prison officer Sherwin Francis was ambushed and killed at his Chaguanas home, in what some of his colleagues speculate may have been a hit called from inside the Golden Grove Prison due to an ongoing hunger strike by prisoners.