Celebrating Our Story

THE WEEK LY GLEANER | FEBRUA RY 16 - FEBRUARY 22, 2021 | www.jamaica-gleaner.com | I Lester Hinds/Contributor W HEN HE migrated to the United States after graduat- ing Cornwall College, little did Jamaica-born Michael King know that his journey would also take him to the top tier of the US law enforce- ment system. King, who was recently promoted to the rank of inspector in the New York Police Department (NYPD), is currently head of the NYPD’s special victims’ crime unit, overseeing a force of more than 700 detectives who investigate all sex crimes as well as child abuse cases in the city of well over 8 million residents. “Every sex crime comes to my desk. I decide along with my team which crime to pursue, which to investigate and which to prosecute,”said Inspector King. Prior to 2005, the sex crime was merely a unit in the police department. Today, the sex crime unit is a division within the NYPD. Its work seems more glamorous because of the television series by the same name that airs on Channel 4WNBC in NewYork. Inspector King says that as Black History Month is celebrated, his division works to high- light black achievements. “We do outreach programmes to educate young people on the achieve- ments of black people inside and out- side the NYPD,” he said. This involves speaking at schools, community events and outreach to churches within mi- nority and black communities. We go where the people are,” he said. Inspector King says his division has seen a drop in the number of sex crimes being reported, which he attributes to factors including: COVID-19, the divi- sion’s robust outreach programmes and the sustained public education cam- paign about sex crimes. The division’s liaison unit visits schools, hospitals, churches and community organisa- tions and works with victim advocates to bring its message and work to the wider public. He emphasises that there is no distinction made based on a per- son’s immigration status.“The division provides various ways in which they can do this and we encourage victims to utilise the various channels open to them to report sex crime,” he said. Born in St James, Jamaica, Inspector King attended Mount Alvernia Prep School and later Cornwall College. He migrated to the United States in 1991. He is also a trained clinical nurse, which gives a perspective on how to deal with victims of sex crimes. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2021 Taking on the fight for justice Ja-born Michael King is new head of NYPD’s special victims’ crime unit BLA CK HISTORY MONTH FEATURE FEBRUARY 16 - MARCH 15, 2021 | www.jamaica-gleaner.com | CELEBRATING OUR STORY - AWEEKLY GLEANER B LACK HISTORY FEATURE 30