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May 30, 2019

9 Officers are Recognized for Heroism in the Face of Danger

Today, a group of police officers was awarded for bravery during two crimes that occurred in the month of May. The ComPol’s Outstanding Officers Award Ceremony was held at the Queen Street Police Station and focused on the exemplary work of the officers involved in the recent foiled robbery at A&R last Saturday and the May ninth apprehension of seven burglars on the George Price Highway. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

There was a celebration of accomplishment for outstanding officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that it is a testament to the good work of the department, but particularly so for the seven police men, a woman police officer and a special constable, who demonstrated zeal and bravery in the face of imminent danger.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“While we have a number of officers who will be awarded today, that does not mean that there are not many other officers out there who are worthy of being awarded as well. But you would understand that we can only award for the best of the best. And those persons who will be awarded today is because you have performed exemplary; you have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that citizen security is maintained.”

 

Corporals Sheldon Hernandez and Rocael Casanova as well as police constables Reginio Assi, Doni Buddon, Robert Gordon and Efreni Navarro responded to the armed robbery at A and R Store on Saturday in Belize City. In the hostage situation, the security guard was held at gunpoint, while patrons scattered to safety. But Corporal Hernandez, who is attached to the Belama precinct, kept his cool and managed to negotiate for the armed thieves to surrender, despite being shot at. He has been working with the police department for eighteen years and recounted the situation.

 

Sheldon Hernandez

Cpl. Sheldon Hernandez, Awardee

“We were on normal routine patrols and at the time a civilian staff came out of the A&R building and uttered the words, they are robbing the store. And based on her information and the training that I have received, me and my personnel jumped into action and did our best, tried to keep our cool due to the fact it was very stressful. Upon entering the building, I myself was fired [at], so like I said, the experience and the training being in the police department, I remained my cool and I manoeuvred the situation and see how best way I could get every person including the suspect alive. I didn’t talk to the person. I explained to him that he had a life to live and the building was surrounded by police so he only had one option. So it seemed that we had a negotiating situation because we had exchange of words. So I explained to him that if he does come out alive, we will just take him in custody and no harm will be done to him. So in telling him that, he also released one of the hostage cause he had the security guard. Then he placed down the item, which was a firearm and then he walked out along with his accomplice.”

 

The three other awardees are officers attached to the Prosecution Branch. Police Constable Dennis Palacio, Special Constable Barrington Wade and Woman Police Constable Linda Chun were returning to city from dropping off remandees at the Central Prison in Hattieville on May ninth when they witnessed a burglary in progress at a property, formerly known as Almond Hill, on the George Price Highway. The officers managed to intercept a KIA SUV and detained seven persons: Eric Tillett, Wilfred Garbutt, Kevin Bowden, Tyreek Allen and three minors—ages thirteen, fourteen and fifteen—who have all been charged for burglary. Even with twenty-eight years in the department, WPC Chun says the situation was slightly scary.

 

Linda Chun

WPC Linda Chun, Awardee

“When he put on the siren for the police van, the guy turned around and looked and then he saw it was police officers and he set down the TV and ran towards a parked vehicle. That’s where we set chase, cause they were about to move, and we intercepted the vehicle and then we apprehend him. We told him to come out cause our co-workers were prepared and that’s where we apprehend the seven persons. At the beginning and we were trying to set chase at them, that came into our mind, but we had firearms with us so it wasn’t that scary at the time. But when we came out because their vehicle was tinted, we didn’t know what was going to happen. But our vehicle had stopped them from moving that far; they couldn’t move.”

 

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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