Jamestown Police Department Welcomes New Officer
One could make the case that Akeem Frett becoming an officer with the Jamestown Police Department is simply a career-minded journey coming full circle.
Born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Frett looked up to his stepfather, a police officer, before coming to New York where he studied criminal justice at Monroe College. He returned to the Virgin Islands upon graduation, and two years later — in 2010 — he became an officer himself with the chief law enforcement provider within the organized territory.
After nearly a decade of service, in which he served as a K-9 officer, the 33-year-old moved to New York — culminating with his hiring in Jamestown this month.
“I know that my stepfather was a cop and I learned from him,” Frett told The Post-Journal. “I watched him, and I wanted to be like him.”
Somewhat quiet and well-spoken, Frett described his time serving with the Virgin Islands Police Department.
He noted the high-call volume, experience he suspects will suit him well working within the largest population density in Chautauqua County, as well as the variety of crime and people he came across while working among the Caribbean islands.
“It’s its own beast,” he said of his first nine years as a police officer. “It was action-packed; every day was action-packed because of the crime and things like that.”
Nonetheless, Frett takes a rather simple approach to policing. Asked what he enjoys about the job, he said, “Helping people and making smiles. Even if you have to make an arrest with somebody and it ends on a laughing matter or smiling matter, it makes you feel good because you know he wasn’t being harsh.”
Indeed, Frett enjoys making connections with the community. Even during situations many would consider stressful, Frett tries as often as possible to put himself in others’ shoes.
“You want to be tactful first,” he said when asked of handling difficult moments on the job. “You want to be tactful before you go into any situation or observe and understand the situation. You want to put yourself in their situation and what made that person angry or understand why they are angry. And then you go from there and make a decision. The law is the ultimate aspect in the end, but you have to try and reason and understand why this person is angry.”
Frett, who already completed the local police academy, is currently in field training with another officer.
Police Chief Timothy Jackson noted Frett’s years of experience as a police officer in the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as being bilingual, qualifications that certainly made him stand out as an excellent candidate for any police department.
The hiring comes following a series of rallies held in Jamestown beginning last May and after the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. During those gatherings, many at Dow Park, city and police officials were asked of the diversity within the ranks of the department.
“The community made it pretty clear to me that they wanted, one a city resident,” Jackson said. “They also wanted more diversity in the police department, and we need a second language, another person that speaks a second language. So, without a doubt, Akeem filled all those.
“Aside from that,” the police chief continued, “his work experience and his qualities were way above any other candidates. So, he’s been through two academies now; he also completed ours, our local academy, but his nine years of experience in the Virgin Islands is impressive.”
Asked of his reaction to the protests that took place across the country, Frett said, “Basically, when it comes down to it, you see one color talking to another color, and that’s what they’re looking at, basically. People make bad decisions, of course that’s law enforcement, but once you’re constantly seeing the same color talking to another, it can be stressful. I think that diversity and the understanding of the culture it will probably be a better approach.”