Corporal Common remembered as a reliable and quiet officer

A dependable officer who was always willing to go the extra mile. Those were the words used to describe Corporal Clifton Common who died in the line of duty on Thursday. The 51-year-old devoted three decades of his life to protecting and serving his nation and was a familiar face at St John’s Police Station. More inside. (Photo courtesy Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda)
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By Elesha George

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By all accounts, the police officer who was killed on Thursday, February 11th, was a people person and a reliable officer who had a very good relationship with his seniors and his peers.

All those who spoke of 51-year-old Corporal Clifton Common described him as being quiet and dependable.

Corporal Common is the first homicide victim of 2021 who died following an altercation with a detainee inside the St John’s Police Station.  

Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney said Common served the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda for 29 unbroken years, having joined the ranks on January 15th, 1992.

He worked at the A Division dealing with security matters and interacting with the public, Commissioner Rodney told Observer.

“A very good public relations-type of officer,” Rodney remarked, as he shared a recent memory when the corporal proudly boasted of his successes with backyard gardening.

The commissioner recalled that the corporal was a “very quiet and dependable, one of the persons you could rely on whatever the circumstances, whatever the duties, even late notice of some additional duties, he was one of them who would not complain, but would always be willing to go the extra mile.”

Many officers and civilians were shocked at his death. A number of people knew him through his work in the St John’s area and simply described him as being “quiet” and “one of the good ones.”

“In my 12 years on the force, he has been one constant way. He comes to work, he is pleasant, a quiet person, he comes, he does his work and he goes home. He has a pleasant spirit,” one officer recalled.

        Another officer told the Observer, “If you want to know something or you’re not certain, you can ask. He’s not a person to boast, he’s somebody you could learn from, a very cool person. I can still remember him walking up Market Street with his lunch kit and his weapon on his side. I didn’t sleep, thinking about what happened and it’s hard to see that a man who doesn’t trouble people died like that. I looked up to him as a role model.”

A civilian added that “he always had his lunch bag when he went to work, a really nice guy.”

The police commissioner said counselling is being sought for his peers, some of whom were present at the incident and had to assist the medical team with his care.

“It was very impactful on them being right there with him, and especially knowing the type of person he was, and the relationship that he had with his peers, even with his seniors. So, that has taken a serious toll on them, and we have to be providing them with a level of counseling so that they can cope with the difficulty that they are facing right now,” he shared.

“It’s not something that happens very often, but it is very unfortunate that when it did happen, it took the life of one of our veterans. So, it is sad and we regret things like that happening within the precinct of a police station when he was just carrying out his normal duties of assisting a person; it makes it very difficult for us to cope,” he added.

According to Commissioner Rodney, the Major Crimes Unit has been asked to carry out a full investigation into the incident, telling Observer, “We’re trying to put the pieces together and to have a comprehensive idea as to what really took place yesterday [Thursday] afternoon.” Corporal Common is survived by a daughter and his wife.

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