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Mar 6, 2019

Cops Recognized for Bravery in the Line of Duty

The Police Department took time today to honour a set of brave officers who risked their lives to get their jobs done. The officers were rewarded for their work in apprehending criminals in three separate incidents, including the recent robbery at the northern border.  Meanwhile, an officer station in Punta Gorda was able to single-handedly apprehend two men and recover a gun used in a shooting. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today, fifteen police officers from Corozal, Punta Gorda and Hopkins were recognized for their bravery in the line of duty. They were each awarded certificates for good police work; letter of commendation on file and a cash award. Among the officers rewarded were ten cops who foiled the robbery of the money changers at the northern border. The officers were in the area on another operation when the robbery was happening – they recovered the weapons, the stolen money and caught the six robbers – four of whom have already been charged and taken to court. Mark Martinez of the GSU is one of the officers who responded to the robbery. He says it was all about team work and putting his 21 plus years of skills and training to good use.


Mark Martinez

Sergeant Mark Martinez, Awardee

“Personally, it is a good feeling due to training and years in the service I have obtained a lot of skills and it is just like a day to day work. For the officers who went there and performed their duties, I believe that they performed to the best of their abilities as professionals.  In the past the units were not closely linked, so to speak. The MIT, SPU, GSU we are all working in Belize and we are venturing out district. I see these units continuing to work together as Belize Police Department.”


Commissioner of Police Chester Williams praised the officers for going beyond the call of duty. He says the recent successes are a combination of cops working together and making use of the intel they gather. Today he told the gathering that the department is winning the fight against crime – but officers must do more.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The award ceremony today, especially for those officers who will be recognized for the heroic act at the northern border is testimony that when we work together we can achieve greater things. Often time the public believe that the police don’t act on intelligence but I can also tell you that we have good intelligence officers in our ranks. And we do react to intelligence when we get them and sometimes we are successful and sometimes we are not. We must understand the dynamics that it changes from time to time. While we celebrate today we must understand that there is still a lot to be done. We have an enormous task to reduce crime and I can tell you so far that despite what is being said in the media, we are doing well; we are winning.”


Five police officers from Hopkins and Punta Gorda were also recognized. Police Constable William Sanchez who is attached to Canine Unit is another officer who was acknowledged for his role in capturing the culprits of an aggravated burglary in Hopkins last week. The two burglars got away from the cops but Sanchez and another partner recaptured the thieves using police tactics.


William Sanchez

PC William Sanchez, Awardee

“The motivation behind it is very easy, keep this country as safe as possibly can; for my children, your children and every other Belizean or visitor to this nation. So, in going out executing our duty that day it wasn’t an easy task but it was something we are already accustomed to doing. Each task comes with its own challenges. Fortunately we overcame the challenges that were there and we came out on top.”


Minister of National Security says that these stories of the police rooting out the criminals are signs of what’s to come.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“When I hear this good news, I feel vindicated because not so long ago, there were calls from all quarters of this country for a foreign commissioner of police. I think whenever you – and this is for all of you who have been awarded – you help to make us all proud that we have remained with a Belizean Commissioner Police. Because I know that we can do it and we are doing it. It is ceremonies such as which we are doing today is a reminder, example and symbol of what we can do in the Belize Police Department.  I hope this is the new trend. I know it is the new trend because I feel the new movement happening in the Police Department.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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