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Aug 8, 2019

23 New Tourism Police Officers; San Pedro Gets 12!

On June twenty-sixth, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams laid out a plan to the San Pedro community in the wake of the double murder of well-known tour guide Mario Graniel and tourist Doctor Gary Swank.  One of the Belize Police Department’s promises to San Pedro was to hire a dozen Tourism Police Officers. Well, today those twelve officers graduated as a part of a class of twenty-three.  This cohort of tourism police officers is not a part of the regular recruit.  They were all hired to work in tourism communities that are experiencing crime.  Today, the high commanding officers of the police gathered at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan to share welcome messages and advice for the new recruits.  News Five was there for the graduation ceremony and Andrea Polanco has the story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

These twenty-three Tourism Police Officers took an oath today to protect and serve. This is a special cohort. They were recruited in light of the growing safety concerns and spike in crime in tourism hotspots like San Pedro. The Commissioner of Police and the Commander of T.P.U. addressed the graduating class today.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“While you wear a shirt or uniform that represents Tourism Police Special Constable, you will not be looked upon out there as Special Constables. You will be seen like Police Officers because that is who you are. You are law enforcement officers. You will be called upon to do the same work that the officers in the Khaki and Blue will be called upon to do and that makes you police officers, as well.”


Alison McLaughlin

ASP Alison McLaughlin, Commander, T.P.U.

“To the new special constables, I say, welcome to the Belize Police Department. Go forth and do your job to the best of your abilities. Be professional, respectful, courteous, as you are all ambassadors of your country. Serve your community with pride and dignity and always abide by the golden rule; do right even when no one is looking.”


The regular special constables train for two weeks. These officers of the T.P.U. completed three weeks. They did an additional training in firearm handling and usage, as well as training in tourism related crimes. Sheldon Arzu is one of the top recruits in this cohort.

 

Sheldon Arzu

Sheldon Arzu, Graduate, T.P.U.

“On week one, subjects covered were constitutional rights where we learned the need to respect the rights of people. We will yield with justifiable force or harm; notebook entries; station diaries; firearm ops; powers of arrest; summons and warrants and the care and treatment of prisoners.  A course that highlight in week two was how to give evidence in court which entailed proper procedure such as examination, cross examination and re-examination. As week three commenced, courses covered were central information management system, fisheries act and crime prevention.”


Twelve of the officers will be deployed to San Pedro and five to Placencia. The other six will not get a job immediately. But before sending them off, Commissioner of Police gave the new officers some stern advice. He warned the officers to beware of the temptations they may face on La Isla Bonita – temptations that could derail their budding law enforcement career in the T.P.U.

 

Chester Williams

“Everybody you meet will want to offer you liquor. They won’t offer you a plate of food, you know. They will offer you liquor. San Pedro is known to have a lot of drunken police officers; officers who succumbed to the weakness of liquor. In most cases, the alcohol destroyed many good police men and women. Make sure, those of you who will go to San Pedro, you don’t fall in the same trap like as those police men and women who were destroyed by alcohol in San Pedro. It is truly a nice place to work and there truly exists many good people in San Pedro. But the underlining issue that you must ensure that you bear with you, at all times is that you can become weak and fall victim to alcohol consumption. Say no to alcohol. Say no to drugs.”


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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