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Feb 24, 2016

Police Officers Complete GREAT Training

The GREAT program funded by the U.S. government has become an important element in the work of the police department.  It first started in the City and has now spread to the districts as an effective way to prevent violence among youths. Today, another group of police officers completed their training and will be deployed throughout the country to work with children and youths. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A cohort of thirty-five law enforcement officers from the Belize Police Department graduated from the Gang Resistance Education and Training program earlier today.  The men and women, of various ranks, have joined a growing number of instructors who will now be engaging children and youths across the country.

 

Carlos Moreno, U.S. Ambassador

Carlos Moreno

“I’ve been told that over ninety-five hundred children have completed the program and over one hundred and thirty officers have been trained.  This means now, with the addition of the thirty-five new graduates, even more children will be able to participate in the program with you new officers.  Now we’ve all read and we all understand that youth involvement in gang violence has been on the rise throughout the region.”

 

GREAT, as it is otherwise known, is an evidence-based and effective gang and violence prevention program.  It is built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom subjects.  GREAT is intended as a deterrent, an immunization of sorts, against delinquency, youth violence and gang membership for children.  Today’s commencement exercise is the third since the program was launched in Belize.

 

Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“The GREAT program first stemmed from within the Community Policing Unit in 2009 where seven police officers were first trained and this program was then piloted within Belize City.  We saw the benefits of the GREAT program and since then the GREAT program has taken root within the department and it is now being conducted countrywide.  It also includes police officers from other units other than just the Community Policing Unit, who have received training in this GREAT program.”

 

Among the many benefits of GREAT is that the course assists in building better relationships between law enforcement officers and the community.  It also allows for the sharpening of skills in communication and dealing with the public.  In turn, students learn necessary life skills to avoid criminal behavior and gang membership.

 

Ron Doyle, Regional Director, GREAT

Ron Doyle

“The goal of the GREAT program is prevention.  We want to head off problems before they get started.  When children are influenced to participate in criminal activity, to use violence to achieve their goals, to become members of gangs the cost for everyone involved is great.  The cost to the individual child is huge.  Besides having to live with the constant fear of arrest or reprisal we know that those who live by violence usually die by violence.  The cost of their victims is great as they suffer personal loss, sometimes irreparable.  And there is a great cost for all of us as a society, not only the cost of the damage is done but the loss of the positive contribution that these failed citizens could have made.  So every child that we can keep from starting down this wrong path makes us much more effective and far less costly than trying to redirect them after they’ve already gone astray.”

 

In Belize, GREAT is a joint initiative involving the United States Embassy.  Since its introduction the results of the program have been lauded countrywide.

 

Carlos Moreno

“I’m told that since the GREAT program began in Belize five years ago, in 2011, that we’ve only received very positive feedback and results.  During school visits by the embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Team, INL, and we all know Faustino Shal, we’ve heard from school teachers who have given him and they’ve given us very positive feedback.  School principals have also emphasized that the students have really changed, that their behavior is now much more positive in nature.  Also, in many cases, teachers report to us that the academic performance of GREAT students has improved significantly by participation in this program.”

 

Isani Cayetano for News Five.

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2 Responses for “Police Officers Complete GREAT Training”

  1. EL Moreno says:

    THIS IS ALL BULL CRAP FROM THE US GOVERNMENT, THEY CANT EVEN CONTROL THIS PROBLEM IN THIER OWN COUNTRY, SO WHY IN THE WORLD THEY A TRYING TO SOLVE PROBLEMS ELSE WHERE. BELIZE ONCE AGAIN ALLOWING THEM TO TAKE BELIZE AS A FOOL. ITS A DARN SHAME

  2. Rod says:

    No matter how much training you give these duncy people they will never learn because they are duncy duncy duncy.

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