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Jul 15, 2020

Belize Police Department Hosts First Ever Citizens Appreciation Day

The Belize Police Department says that COVID-19 and budgetary restrictions prevented them from observing their Annual Police Week. But what they didn’t cut back was the appreciation for citizens who support the efforts of the police.  Today, the department held its first ever National Citizen Appreciation Day at all police stations across the country. Today, we stopped in at the Raccoon and Queen Streets Police Stations to find how the department was observing the day under the theme, “Honoring and celebrating our citizens for partnering with us for a safer Belize.” Here is the story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For the first time the Belize Police Department held National Citizens Appreciation Day to recognize outstanding contributions they have received from the community; this include individuals, as well as businesses and other non-profit groups. The day’s celebrations in the City started at the Raccoon Street Police Station. Commissioner Chester Williams explains why the day is being observed, in light of budgetary constraints that prevented the annual police week activities.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The concept of Citizens Appreciation Day is one which we decided to do in the absence of having a police week. You would know that each year we would celebrate police week during which we would honor most of our citizens who contribute to our success on a daily basis. But due to the COVID pandemic and the financial constraints that we are in, Police Week would have been too costly. So, we look at some alternative so that we can still recognize those who have been there with us through thick and thin; not those who entangle with us but those who are in a lasting relationship with us.”

 

Twenty-five persons were recognized with plaques and certificates at the Raccoon Street Police Station. The awardees include G. Michael Reid; Cruzita Leslie of Carmen’s Take-Out; San Cas Group; Fair Brothers Pawn Shop and J.P. Grace Flowers. Commissioner Williams addressed the honourees, thanking them for their support to the Belize Police Department.

 

Chester Williams

“The most important aspect of the day is to show appreciation to you our citizens who, on a daily basis, have been there with us. You know often times the police do celebrate successes and at times we tend to forget that the success that we celebrate all came about because of you; your support you’re your cooperation; the love and dedication that you have for country that propels you to help the police to be able to succeed in our fight against crime. And for that I must say that I am eternally grateful. So, the Citizen’s Appreciation Day is not about us. We are celebrating you. Where we have mutual respect for each other; where we have model citizens – people who are willing to go the extra mile that their police succeed.”

 

The Citizens Appreciation Day continued at the Queen Street Police Station where another twenty-five outstanding citizens received certificates of appreciation for their invaluable contributions to community policing activities, including Caribbean Shores Are Rep Kareem Musa and Giovanni Alamilla. The day also featured informational booths for citizens to learn more about the role of the police.

 

Chester Williams

“The open day today is showcasing the different services that the police offer to the public; such as how to apply for a police record; how to apply for a police report; how to apply for a gun license. Likewise, for the different units in the department to showcase to the public what is that they do, to give you a better understanding of the daily life of a police officer. I believe we have done ourselves a disservice by not being able to do much showcasing of the good work that the police do. Our public relations is not up to where I would want it to be. So, yes, I am going to concede that today is a day for us to showcase the good that the police do and as well as to try as best as we can to boost our public relations.”

 

The Police Department also carried out a number of other activities including feeding the homeless. And if you visited a check point today, you may have noticed a friendlier, more relaxed approach, that’s because the cops were showing you their appreciation. Commissioner Williams says that persons without masks today would’ve gotten a pass.

 

Chester Williams

“Today, I would hope that police put aside their arrest powers unless there was a real need to exercise arrest powers and focus more on showing appreciation to our people. The wearing of face masks – we don’t want anyone to get arrested for that today. If we find someone without a mask, we will extend the courtesy and give you one. That is what we are going to do. We want to say thank you and for you to see the good side of us and show that we appreciate each and every one of you.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

A total of two hundred and sixty-five citizens were honored countrywide today.


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