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Jun 11, 2019

Are Police Officers Trained to Deal with Mental Health Cases?

In the tragic case of Nestor Vasquez Junior, who lost his life over the weekend after being badly beaten by a fellow inmate inside a holding cell at the Queen Street Police Station, questions are being raised about the competence of officers in dealing with mentally challenged persons.  According to Doctor Manzanero, notwithstanding the unfortunate incident, training has been provided to the Belize Police Department in the treatment and supervision of persons with mental health issues.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“We have fostered, I think, a good relationship with the police.  I know a training has happened in terms of how you handle mental health cases.  Perhaps it’s not as comprehensive as you would want.  It should be ongoing because usually they’re going to be the frontline personnel that are called whenever there is a mental situation or you might not know it is a mental case until you go and find out exactly what is happening on the ground.  So I think we are open to discussing in further with the police.  I know when we had items around gender-based violence years ago; we also had some surveillance system and mechanism with them.  I am aware of what was mentioned by the commissioner, I believe yesterday.  So that is something that we would look at jointly.  In terms of medication, I do know that there was some lapse in terms of when medications were going to be here at the beginning of the year.  I don’t know that that is currently the situation at the Ministry of Health.”

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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