Since the 1850’s, Jamaicans have migrated to the United States in search of employment opportunities. Many Jamaicans found work in the agricultural, domestic, construction and health care industries. They also settled in the Eastern parts of the United States. Today the largest population of Jamaicans reside in the New York City metropolitan area. As the Jamaican Diaspora continue to increase, so has the descendants of Jamaica. Although New York is home to many Jamaicans and their descendants, the representation and support for Jamaican-Americans within the New York City Police Department was limited and not diverse. To encourage members of the Jamaican community to join the police department and make a positive impact in the department and the communities they served, the police department needed to make changes that would be more diverse and supportive of the Jamaican-American community and the department’s members of service. Over the years like other immigrant groups, the recruitment and representation of Jamaicans have increased exponentially. This created a need for Jamaican-American members to have a fraternal organization that specifically represented the Jamaican tradition, beliefs, culture, and heritage. In the past as an alternative and in search of a place to bond, many Jamaican members joined the police department’s Black organization, the Guardians Association. Respectfully, the founding members fundamentally believed no other organization in the department could specifically represent Jamaicans besides a Jamaican fraternal organization. This led to the idea to create a fraternal organization that would represent Jamaican-American members, and to assist the department in welcoming the rich Jamaican culture as they build bridges with the Jamaican community in New York City and abroad. In 2018, a group of Jamaican American members of NYPD began meeting to form a Jamaican fraternal organization. Unfortunately, the devasting impact of COVID-19 caused these founding members to struggle to conduct business, have meetings, increase its membership, and market the Jamaican organization. These members persevered and with the assistance of newer members, the Jamaican-American Law Enforcement Organization was established in January 2020, and recognized by the NYPD as an official fraternal organization in December 2021.
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