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Sep 5, 2013

Police Department Launches Gang Resistance Education and Training Program

Today the Belize Police Department proudly launched a historic documentary chronicling the success story of one of its greatest initiative. The Gang Resistance Education and Training program was first born in the US and reborn in Belize in 2008. It is a collaboration effort between the US Embassy, the Ministry of Education and the Belize Police Department, and puts trained police officers into the classroom to teach real life practical life skills. By every account it has been a tremendous success, and today the public was treated to a documentary on that story. Mike Rudon was at the Belize Biltmore Plaza and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The GREAT program is operated under the umbrella of the Community Policing Unit and is celebrated as one of its most successful achievements. It got underway in 2008, when trained officers from the Community Policing Unit were put into classrooms at the elementary and middle level. They worked with a set curriculum, becoming positive mentors to youths. Louise Willis is the commander leading the GREAT charge.

 

Louise Willis, Commander, Community Policing Unit

Louise Willis

“The GREAT program is built around classroom curriculum, instructed by trained and certified police officers. The prevention of GREAT involvement/ participation is its primary objection. The program is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence and gang membership. The program encourages positive relationship among community group, parents, schools and our law enforcement officers.”

 

Those law enforcement officers have made a positive difference in the lives of four thousand youths in the school setting alone, since 2008. The Department is proud of that achievement, and the idea of a documentary to chronicle and promote the expansion of the program was born.

 

Louise Willis

“There were four objectives for developing this GREAT documentary which will be seen here today. One, to create a visual documentation of the work of the police department, the community policing, the U.S. embassy, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, the primary school students and the principals. Two, to enhance, educate and create public awareness and the GREAT program and the community policing in Belize. To utilize the documentary as a training and capacity building tool for our police department, and honestly to create the first educational documented in the history of the Belize Police department showing off our community policing unit success.”

 

Today that documentary was launched to an attentive audience. So where does GREAT go from here?

 

Louise Willis

“In the year the program will be rolled out to the rural areas. In addition 30 officers will be trained and over 4000 students will graduate from this program.”

 

Allen Whylie, Belize Police Commissioner

Allen Whylie

“For me it is a great day and a great pleasure to be here and it is huge success story within the Belize Police department. I want to say that the police department remains committed to the GREAT program. We are committed to seek and find ways to partner with the community, with the schools we are opened to idea feel free if you have an idea that could be beneficial. We will look at it, we will discuss and if we can run with it rest assure that my office will embrace it.”

 

Complimentary copies of the documentary were handed out teachers, students and stakeholders in the program. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The U.S. Embassy commissioned Great Belize Production Limited to produce the GREAT Documentary.

 

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