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Friday 13 December 2019
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Karate cop helps Enterprise youths

Policeman and karate instructor  Adrian Sealey with students of the Chaguanas Secondary School.  - Sureash Cholai
Policeman and karate instructor Adrian Sealey with students of the Chaguanas Secondary School. - Sureash Cholai

In recent years the Chaguanas community of Crown Trace, Enterprise, has had to deal with the harsh realities of gang violence, crime and the stigma that comes with these problems.

But one policeman, with the assistance of his colleagues in the Central Division, has made it his mission to save the community's youngest residents.

At first glance, Adrian Sealey might seem like your average policeman, with his medium build and regular height.

But the 31-year-old constable, who joined the police service earlier this year, has distinguished himself through his sincere desire to serve his community and improve the quality of life for everyone who lives there.

Const Adrian Sealy jots down notes in the Police Station Diary at the Chaguanas Police Station last Friday. - Shane Superville

Sealey has lived in Enterprise all his life. His sense of service and duty began well before he even thought of joining the police, as a child, dealing with the sense of abandonment that came with the divorce of his parents.

Speaking with Sunday Newsday at the Community Police Unit's office at the Chaguanas Police Station, Sealey shared his story of what led him to this crusade for his community.

"When my dad left the family, I was dealing with a lot of personal issues at the time. I didn't have a very positive male role model in my life, and I began following the wrong crowd. I was very rebellious, and I was getting into all kinds of trouble."

Policeman and karate instructor Adrian Sealey with students of the Chaguanas Secondary School. - Sureash Cholai

Sealey's older brother saw the changes in his behaviour and enrolled him in the neighbourhood karate school, which was run by a minister and karate expert, the late Shihan Carlyle Thorne, a decision Sealey said saved his life.

A life-changing experience

"Attending Shihan Thorne's karate school really made a difference for me. I had a lot of pent-up energy and hatred inside of me that I was able to work out, and he provided me with a positive male role model in my life. He was my mentor."

Under Thorne's tutelage, Sealey excelled in martial arts, earning a third-degree black belt and competing in tournaments both locally and regionally.

Thorne's death in 2012 was a devastating blow to Sealey, who considered him a surrogate father. The young martial artist took an indefinite hiatus from practising karate.

While working for his brother's business, Sealey, still in need of direction for his career, decided to start the Ryu Dan Dojo in Enterprise to continue his mentor's legacy of service before self and improve his community, which needed extra-curricular activities for youths.

Policeman and karate instructor Adrian Sealey with students of the Chaguanas Secondary School. - Sureash Cholai

It was his work with youths and school visits that brought him into contact with Sgt Jacey Small of the Central Division Community Police Unit, who noticed Sealey's charisma and encouraged him to join the service.

"To me joining the police service was a no-brainer. I really wanted to help my community and raise the quality of living for everyone there, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to be able to help more people and that's exactly what I did."

Sealey said while there has been some mistrust towards police from Enterprise residents, he, Sgt Small and other community police officers have worked to regain the trust and confidence of residents, through school visits and community meetings.

Asked if he noticed a change in the way his peers in the neighbourhood interact with him since he joined the service, Sealey said while he is generally treated the same, he was pleased at being able to help a known gang member reform his life.

Policeman and karate instructor Adrian Sealey with students of the Chaguanas Secondary School. - Sureash Cholai

"He was a well-known guy in the Unruly ISIS gang, and he approached me and said that he admired what I was doing in the area. He also told me that he was trying to make some changes in his own life.

"I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that."

Sealey contacted some business people he knew and was able to get the former gang member a legitimate job.

"It's moments like that which really stand out to me."

Despite not being as active with the Ryu Dan Dojo as he once was, Sealey continues to bridge the gap with youths in the community through school visits with the Community Police Unit, where he features self-defence techniques and advocates peaceful conflict resolution.

Sgt Jacey Small, left, and PCs Adrian Sealy and Arnold Richards outside the Chaguanas Police Station on Friday. - Shane Superville

More recently he visited Chaguanas South Secondary School where he intends to develop more co-curricular activities including karate.

Sunday Newsday also spoke to Small who said one of the unit's greatest victories in recent years has been reducing the number of violent crimes in Enterprise, something he credits to the work of officers like Sealey, who are no strangers to the communities they police.

"In Enterprise in particular, we would have hand-picked officers to do a particular job in their communities. Having an officer who lives in an area and functions in that area makes a big difference. The kind of passion he will have to work and save that community is a really big improvement."

Small commended Sealey and other members of the Community Police Unit for their support and for maintaining such a strong drive to help others.

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