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Jun 9, 2004

Police vehicle fleet holding up well

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It was a major P.R. event that came just prior to the last general election; the presentation of a fleet of brand new Fords for the Police Department. And while today everyone takes the Ranger pickups and Focus sedans for granted, I’ve always wondered just how the vehicles were holding up. Today I found out.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

Branded with a rap of poor driving habits and tainted by the public’s perception of reckless use of government property, today the Belize Police Department says that of the one hundred brand new Fords they received fifteen months ago, ninety-eight are still on the road…bringing their total carpool to a hundred and twenty-five vehicles.

Officials tell News 5 the statistics are the result of rigorous training for its drivers.

Lennox Wade, Vehicle Fleet Manager, Police Department

“We have some months that we go and we don?t have any accidents. Out of the one hundred new vehicles that we acquired in the past year and three months, we have only two of that completely off run. And I think fleet management is doing a good job with this fleet presently.”

Janelle Chanona

“How do you instil in the officers that they have to take care of these vehicles?”

Lennox Wade

“Myself, along with two other instructors, have conducted five one-week driving courses in Belmopan at the Training Academy telling them about the care and handling of our vehicles and at the same time, we have a vehicle standing orders that everyone should obey.”

According to Lennox Wade, Fleet Manager for the Police Department, each district has at least five vehicles at its disposal, three pickups and two cars. On average, the vehicles go in for maintenance every three thousand miles or every three months, whichever comes first. In Belize City alone, there are forty-two police cars and trucks patrolling the streets. Wade says every accident report that finds an officer is in the wrong has financial repercussions.

Lennox Wade

“If the driver is at fault, we go through the procedure and thereafter we do a pay sheet deduction.”

And what about persistent rumours that fuel is chronically scarce? Well, according to the department?s ?gas man?, Belize City?s police patrols consume two hundred and fifty gallons of fuel per day, but filling all those tanks has never been a problem.

Anthony Petillo, Accident Reporting Officer

“One vehicle per day might consume about, the Focus may take sometimes ten or eight gallons and the Rangers may consume about thirteen per day. You see in the inner city runs, when you operate on a short stop and move basis you consume more. That’s basically that with the fuel consumption of vehicles.”

Janelle Chanona

“But they always have gas to respond to those calls?”

Anthony Petillo

“Definitely, absolutely. All the time I ensure that these vehicles are refuelled. One that I have to say, whenever I come on duty I get on the radio and make a call to all mobiles to make their way here at Raccoon Street to get fuel orders so they can refuelled their vehicles, and in the afternoon I do likewise.”

Fleet Manager Wade and his colleagues encourage anyone who sees a police vehicle being operated improperly to please contact the department at 227-2222, extension 308 or cell phone 604-9144.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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