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Nov 1, 2016

Police Open Training Center in Belize City

A training center was launched today as a welcome addition to the police station on Queen Street in Belize City. The facility was previously abandoned, but has now been converted into a space to be used by the Eastern Division North to hone the skills of officers in areas other than law enforcement. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Belize Police Department with assistance from the United States government, inaugurated a training facility for law enforcement officers this afternoon at the Eastern Division North Precinct.  The brainchild of Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Phillips, the project saw the third floor of the landmark building completely renovated for the purpose of continued learning.

 

Dezerie Phillips

ACP Dezerie Phillips, Officer Commanding ED North

“Trainings for all level and kind of training will be occurring in this facility.  The reason why the trainings have to occur here is to, it‘s in-house training.  The officers are geographically located within Eastern Division North and so we are extremely grateful that we are able to realize a training facility like this that we are able to accommodate our officers right within the confines of their working environment to receive training.  And the training will be different levels of training for all of our officers, all rank and file.  In fact on Thursday of this week we will be having our first training session in here where we will be having training on suicidal awareness and cancer awareness commemorate Cancer Month.”

 

The need for refurbishing the upper flat of the Queen Street Police Station is in line with a vision to provide officers with the necessary resources to further their academic knowledge of law enforcement.

 

ACP Dezerie Phillips

“Training is very critical, especially in our modern policing era and all our police officers from the rank and file need to be up to date with policies, with procedures, with the laws, with different subject matters that affect your everyday work.  And the importance of this is that the community will realize seeing and receiving better quality service from our police officers if they’re properly trained.”

 

Prior to its sprucing up, the unused space was an eyesore.  It wasn’t until it was being inspected by Superintendent Luis Castellanos that the idea was shared to have it remodeled.

 

Luis Castellanos

Supt. Luis Castellanos

“I recall coming here along with Mr. Shal about a year ago, if I‘m not mistaken and we were doing an inspection and we managed to visit the training room that can now be seen upstairs.  And whilst we were doing the inspection we realized that yes, as Ms. Phillips said, it was an eyesore.  In fact, during the inspection it was raining outside and I think it was also raining inside with us.  I think the water was about one inch deep and so Shal looks at me and I looked at him and I said this is another place, another area where we need help.  We had a discussion with Ms. Phillips and without us telling her anything she said, “You know, I wish if you guys would assist us in building this or fixing up this training room.  It is built already but it‘s an eyesore.”  So I told her and Mr. Shal also told her, I said Ms. Phillips, why don‘t you do a proposal and submitted to see if we could do something with it at the U.S. Embassy.  I think it was on December twenty-second, and that was my birthday and oh, her birthday, Ms. Phillips’ birthday as well and when I returned to work, I think it was on the twenty-third gave it to him.”

 

The initiative was made possible with a contribution of approximately sixty thousand dollars from the United States government for the purchase of materials.  The Government of Belize covered the cost of labor.

 

Robert Gibson

Robert Gibson, United States Embassy

“I think it’s fair to say that of course, a police force needs equipment, it needs cars, it needs guns and it needs all sorts of equipment and we work on that.  But nothing, nothing is more important than training.  That‘s the key.  If, you know, I don‘t care where you are in the world now, if you are a police officer that‘s a tough job.  It‘s not simple and the best way we can help our police officers around the world and here in Belize is through better and better training.  So it‘s very clear that the leadership here also feels that same way and I think that that’s critical.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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