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Mar 13, 2019

Police Women Rising Above Circumstances; Inspiring and Innovating Change

The number of women in the police department is still on the low side, but that may improve now that the department is planning to recruit women to join its ranks. The encouraging news is that female offices have been deployed across the country and are serving in top posts. This morning, one of the highest ranking female officers, ACP Dezerie Magdaleno, was joined by the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, in encouraging women to step up. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Twenty percent of the Belize Police Department comprises women at various ranks and positions. From constables to Assistant Commissioner as well as regional commanders across the country; there are also women amongst the auxiliary staff of the department. So today, as the country commemorates women’s month, the ACP Dezerie Phillips Magdaleno, organized a women’s conference for the over three hundred female police officers and staff.

 

Dezerie Magdaleno

ACP Dezerie Magdaleno, Commander, Management Services, BPD

“We get our women from across the country to come together not only to network but for us to have some meaningful discussions about matters affecting our women. We are speaking about challenges, some of our successes, our achievements and it needs to be heard, it needs to be spoken about. Basic challenges our women face in our department are no different from other women from different organization. It is always said that it is difficult for women to elevate in leadership position. And rightfully so because we have to prove that we are worthy of such position and it has been extremely challenging over the years.”

 

The highest rank a female police officer has acquired in the history of the department is that of Deputy Commissioner of Police. ACP Magdaleno says that she is trying to instil in women officers to continue breaking barriers and go for the top spot.  Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that he is in full support. Since taking over as chief, several female police officers have risen in ranks and have been placed in strategic locations across the country.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“They are in key positions, as I’ve said before. We have a woman in charge of the north, a woman in charge of the west and a woman in charge of the south. So every border area of our country is being manned by female police officers who are in charge. And that for us is very critical to see that as a department, we have come this far to where we have no difficulty about putting our women in these key positions where we know requires some degree of toughness in terms of dealing with border issues and to be able to ensure that our policing mandate at these areas are maintained. As it relates to other female officers who are deployed all over the country, they too are very essential to our work. Mostly you find they are now out in the fields doing patrols just like the males in these hotspots. So we are at a stage where the different duties in policing are not looked upon as a man’s job or a woman’s job, but we can put a man or a woman to do whatever job that we so wish for an officer to do.”

 

Also discussed during the conference is the issue of the welfare of female officers who are exposed to trauma and even providing day care services to their young children.

 

Chester Williams

“The question is: are we doing enough and the answer is no. We surely need to do more as it relates to getting the type of care that our women need so that they will be able to function at their best. Many of our female officers are single mothers or in some cases where they are not single mothers, they are the caregivers at home. And sometimes they find themselves in difficult situations to find babysitter to take care of their young ones. So I think it is only right for us to look at ways and means as to how we can help them so opening a day care centre at Raccoon Street Police is a way to go.”

 

So going forward, will there be an increase in women being recruited into the police department?

 

ACP Dezerie Magdaleno

“Of course. That’s one of the reasons why I believe it is important that I continue to sit where decisions are being made as it relates to women’s voices being heard within the department. And that’s one of the things we are advocating for.”

 

“Women Rising Above Circumstances; Inspiring and Innovating Change” was the theme for the women’s conference. Duane Moody for News Five.


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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