Dr. Cherese Godwin has been appointed the new Psychologist in the Ministry of National Security. Her role is to focus on preparing all National Security Officers to be mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared prior to critical incidents. She is also to assist in removing barriers that may impede the work of officers. The duties of psychologist in this capacity are varied, but include: conducting psychological screenings of law enforcement personnel before they are hired or brought onto special squads; conducting psychological evaluations of current law enforcement personnel to determine whether they are fit for duty; working in hostage negotiations; or providing stress counseling in law enforcement environments, planning and helping to create policy to help the public build resiliency and cope with disasters, terrorism, and possible threats to the homeland. By putting her skills to work in such areas as clinical care, training, leadership and executive development, and social and behavioral research, she hopes to assist in the development of National Security to enhance the country in its efforts to protect and serve the community at large.
In a recent interview Dr. Godwin, was asked specifically what she is hoping to bring to the police force in particular.
Dr. Godwin stated “I hope to provide one on one counseling to the officers who may be dealing with high levels of stress or may have a higher occurrence of seeing maybe more traumatic incidences like deaths and just (other) serious situations. Beyond that, I hope to do more interpersonal training like how to respond to domestic violent situations, how do you deal with people and how do you talk to people to make sure there are no personal influences going into community policing.”
She added: “Beyond those things, making sure that the police are adequate to actually do their job. The recruits who are coming into policing and for the police who are already there, are doing ongoing evaluation…”
Dr. Godwin has served in the capacity of a psychologist for 11 years working with national security officers returning from the war in the US and specializing in PTSD and coping mechanisms. She is done her dissertation and has written a book on violent crimes and solutions. Since 2009, Dr. Godwin has been working with Gender Affairs in the area of violence against women and other important factors for the growth and development of the Federation. Since moving back to St. Kitts a year and a half ago, Dr. Godwin has been extremely involved in the community speaking on radio and television, serving on committees and executive boards of national nongovernmental organisations to tackle crime and violence in the Federation. She notes it is a true task before her, but nothing that cannot be done with a collective buy in.