Kingston native Jevaughn Coley visited the Canadian province of Newfoundland in the summer of 2014, fell in love with the place and just never left.
Coley made history in 2019, as he was one of two black officers appointed to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), which had never had a black cop in its close to 300 years of existence.
Coley who was featured in the CBC’s Black in Canada series, told the publication that he originally arrived in Canada just to visit his mom.
However, Coley said he fell in love with the province and never went back home.
“I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica; moved here in the summer of 2014. My mom moved here first and then me and my brother, we followed. Actually, we visited her at first, and then we just never went back home,” Coley said.
He later explained that he worked his way from a job at McDonalds to the role of Information Management Technician at the RNC.
It was working with the constabulary that Coley said he saw a different perspective on policing and decided to become an officer.
“In Jamaica, it’s really different. It might be the same like police in your town, but it’s a lot of corruption a lot of negative things,” said Coley.
“When I received my first job with the RNC as the Information Management Technician, I guess I learned more. I learned more not just ‘oh there is a police station downtown or whatever. But working at the RMCA headquarters, I learned more about the policing way of life, what they do, the connection that they have with the community and just their purpose, their overall purpose; and I just wanted to be a part of that,” added Coley.
Coley talks experience with racism
While policing in Jamaica has its flaws, it is not ideal in Canada either, according to Coley who shared that he’s had his fair share of brushes with racism.
Coley explained that while working with the RNC, his team members have been very tolerant and respectful; he said in carrying out his duties in the community he has experienced racism.
“I wouldn’t say there are any issues or difficulties being a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. I think we’re all just one big team and we just all got the same purpose to serve and we just doing it day by day. With regards to the community and people that you face yes there is [racism].
“You know I’ve been to calls where someone might have said the word or they out right say, ‘Oh, I’m dealing with you this type of way because of your skin colour’. Like that part of it doesn’t get to me or bother me because like I said, I have got co-workers that actually stand up for me,” he added.
Coley said having supportive co-workers help him to get through some of the on the job problems as it relates to racism noting that in general the job is manageable as crime in the province is super low.
In addition Coley is a fashion entrepreneur, having started a T-shirt line following the passing of sister Aaliyah in 2020.
According to the Statistics Canada 2016 Census, Black people only make up 0.5 per cent of the population in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This means that out of 519,716 people in Newfoundland and Labrador only 2,350 of those people are Black.