Nation’s top cop celebrates 40 years of service, advises young officers to ‘stay committed’

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‘I have been exposed to some good teaching, good counselling, good examples set by others’ – Commissioner Atlee Rodney (Photo by Observer’s Kadeem Joseph)
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by Carlena Knight

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For many people, celebrating 40 years of service in a job is a momentous and prideful occasion, usually marked with great triumphs and even agonising struggles.

For Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney that is no different as the top cop celebrates 40 years of unbroken service to the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB).

Rodney, who is originally from Dominica, left his teaching profession and migrated to Antigua and Barbuda in the early 1980s. It was at that time that he also joined the police force, moving up the ranks to where he presently sits in its top position.

Reflecting on his 40 years of service, Rodney shared that it has been a time full of “highs and lows”.

“It is an achievement in terms of being consistent for so long. I enlisted on January 15 1982 and I would have never dreamt of how far I have gone or how long I would have stayed, but I am thankful to God that he has sustained me to give 40 years of service.

“It has been a good career; I have been exposed to various aspects of policing and then in recent years various aspects of leadership roles. So, looking back, there has been the highs, there has been the lows.

“There have been times when I asked myself ‘why are you doing this and how long are you going to do that for’, but to reach that milestone of 40 years, I think it’s a good achievement and I am thankful for all those persons that has been around me,” Rodney said.

He explained that without his support system he would not have been able to hold out for so long in the force.

“My wife has been with me for almost those 40 years, so she has been a strong tower for me. My children and my siblings have always been supportive and, within the organisation, I have been exposed to some good teaching, good counselling, good examples set by others.

“Even when I look at some of my role models in law enforcement, some of them did not reach as much as 40 years and some had not reached the position of Commissioner of Police, but yet they were my heroes and they were persons that inspire to go on. So, I am very thankful to be surrounded with people like that,” Rodney added.

The top cop also had some words of wisdom for the younger generation of officers.

“My advice is to consistently be doing the right things. You will be challenged. You will be distracted but you have to strive to do the right thing and the police force is not as complicated as some persons would make it to be.

“There are rules, there are regulations, we have disciplinary codes to follow and I am happy that after 40 years I have never been before a tribunal for a disciplinary offence.

“It is not that I am perfect, but I strive to do what is right and what is expected of me and I want to say, especially to young officers, is that you will meet obstacles, you will meet distractions, but you always have to look at the bigger picture and ask yourself all the time ‘why did you come into this organisation?’ Go back to the oath of office you took and take it serious.

“I think if you have that level of commitment, that level of dedication, who knows where you will reach later down? So, my encouragement for young officers is to stay committed,” Rodney advised.

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