After hurricane disaster, dart thrown at map leads to Nottinghamshire Police career

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When Hurricane Irma smashed St. Maarten five years ago, it set off a chain of events that led Jordaine McLaughlin to realize her dream of becoming a police officer.

Jordaine and her fiancée were working at the same hotel chain when the Caribbean island was directly hit by the September 6, 2017 storm and was nearly destroyed.

The natural disaster left them both out of work and the couple moved to Italy while they decided what to do next.

PC Jordaine McLaughlin during a swoon parade.

“We agreed that we wanted to live in the UK, but we didn’t know which region,” recalls Jordaine. “We threw a dart at a map and that’s how we ended up moving to Nottinghamshire.”

The couple quickly landed jobs in the hospitality industry, but found themselves out of work again a few years later when the coronavirus pandemic stalled.

Hungry for job security and a role that would allow her to help others, Jordaine successfully applied to join the ranks of Nottinghamshire Police.

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After an intense 18-week training, he passed out as a police officer in December and he’s already loving the role.

“I really feel like I’ve found my calling,” said Jordaine, who was born in Jamaica and moved to the dual nationality island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten with his mother when he was four.

“When I lived in St Maarten, I always wanted to be a policeman. I took all the exams to be a policeman, prison guard or coast guard – the only problem was that I didn’t speak Dutch, which was the language spoken in St Maarten.

“All the laws were written in Dutch, so they didn’t accept me. Instead, I ended up helping my mom and sister at home before working in the hospitality industry.

Now he provides a different kind of service – policing the streets of Nottingham city center as a Response Officer, based at Central Police Station, Maid Marian Way.

The 33-year-old said it was a dream come true.

“When I saw the job posting, I was determined to apply,” he said. “I think my motivation to join the police comes from the fact that people are being mistreated. In St Maarten, I saw many good people being treated very badly. Many people went to work but their boss did not pay them. They would then be kicked out of their homes because they couldn’t pay the rent. They had worked hard but had been cheated out of what they had – and there was no one to do anything about it.

“Also, my whole house was broken into and nothing came of it. I rented an apartment and went to the cinema. When I got back, I found everything was gone, including the money and my laptop. I reported it but nothing happened.

“I don’t like people being taken advantage of. I’m someone who likes to help a person and that’s why I joined Nottinghamshire Police.

Although only a month into his new role, Jordaine says he has enough experience to already know he wants to stay in the force for many years.

“It’s been very good so far,” he said. “My first day was brilliant since I had to make two arrests! I arrested two individuals outside the Victoria Center for a store robbery.

“Obviously, some days are more difficult than others. I had to deal with people fighting in the street on a busy Friday and Saturday night and on the third day I had my first sudden death. I was really dreading this, but my tutor was so supportive that she prepared me for this and so I managed to stay calm.

Given the nature of many 999 incidents, having the ability to remain calm is imperative for all police officers and it is an area in which Jordaine excels.

“I am a very calm person. Many people approach difficult situations the wrong way by igniting. I always say calm down, relax a bit. Yelling doesn’t solve anything.

“I learned that while working in the hotel industry. The guests were screaming but if I didn’t respond, the guests quickly calmed down.

“It’s also important to listen. When a person yells, they basically want to tell you something. Therefore, you need to listen to them if ultimately your goal is to calm them down.


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