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ACP Williams returns to Southside for Operation ACT

As we mentioned earlier, ACP Chester Williams will be back in the City, though not in his former capacity. ACP Williams will be leading the mediation component of Operation ACT. He will be joined by his former colleagues Diane Finnegan and Nuri Muhammed, who have worked closely with him in the intervention program that was launched in March of this year. Williams’ team will also include other police personnel: Douglas Hyde and Superintendent Daniel Arzu, the Deputy Commander of the Southside formation.  ACP Williams said today that like before, the mediation efforts will serve to help diffuse tensions among gangs.

Chester Williams

“Yes while we have the tough component of the operation we also want to be able to provide that avenue for those persons who would want to come to the table and make a change that we can engage to some degree of dialogue. The interventions and mediations will also afford us the opportunity to be able to understand what the issues are these people are going through as well as to see what we can do to assist them in overcoming those issues and I believe the intervention and mediation will be a critical component of this operation.”

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“Those persons who would wish mediation to occur; those persons would be touching base with the head of the mediation team. The police will not be going out there to say ‘You must come and mediate.’ The individuals must want to come and sit down and be given the opportunity to mediate. As I said the mediation is not between the police and the gangs, the mediation is between the gangs and gangs or inter-gangs.”

The mediation efforts will also include the participation of personnel from the Conscious Youth Development Program of the Police Department. But how effective will this component be, especially since the previous program had been criticized for allowing gang members to avoid criminal charges?

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“The mediation effort that will be lead is for the rivaling parties and the affected parties to have an opportunity to sit down with a neutral person or team and to try to work out their differences. It’s no mediation to say ‘You break the law and the police will look the other way.’ that will not happen.”

Then there is the issue of the turf war over the marijuana trade. When asked, ACP Williams said the problem has extended beyond drugs and this has been considered by the department.

Chester Williams

“One of the purposes of the operation is to see how we can reduce the importation of marijuana into the city and that itself will create some scarcity in terms of where marijuana is concerned and that should to some extent diffuse certain aspects of the tension but it goes beyond that. It has spanned beyond where they are fighting over marijuana to the extent that now because of what had happened they are now having tensions against each other over this one having killed that one or that one has killed that one. So what we need to do is see how we could arrive at an agreement between both parties or the parties involved.”