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Aug 5, 2021

Scholarships and Degrees for Police Officers Out West

There is a positive development for police officers in Western Belize who want to continue their education. The Belize Police Department has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sacred Heart Junior College, giving police officers the chance to get an associate’s degree. And the best part is, it will be free of cost.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Eight police officers are currently enrolled with the Sacred Heart Junior College in San Ignacio, Cayo. They are attached to police formations in Belmopan and elsewhere in the West as they are on a journey to pursue academic degrees with the institution. But they won’t have to pay a penny because a M.O.U., officially signed today, provides them with a full scholarship.


Rocio Smith-Carballo

Rocio Smith-Carballo, President, Sacred Heart Incorporated

“We know that many of our police officers for various reasons have been unable to pursue higher education. One mainly because of the shifts that they need to work, which makes it very difficult for them to access education during the course of the day. And also, we know the salaries also of our police officers for them to be able to stretch out so thin everything. So we believe that this partnership will help us to assist our police department, to empower our officers so that they can transform our nation. We believe more in transformation of our people and it must start from our police officers and then trickle down to the communities as well.”


Recently, changes were made in recruiting requirements for those wanting to join the Belize Police Department; among these was that applicants needed to possess at minimum a high school diploma.  This tertiary opportunity is about developing the officers to provide better service to the communities in which they work. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams would like to see this M.O.U. replicated with other institutions across the country.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“As we talk about police reform in every corner of this country, it is important for us to understand that if we truly want reform, there is no better way for one to reform him or herself other than through getting a sound education. And if we can have our officers undergo studies to better educate themselves, that is certainly going to translate into a more educated department and a department that is going to have the capacity to solve conflicts without having to apply too much force that may result in the conflict escalating.”


Rocio Smith-Carballo

“The scholarship in itself costs about six thousand dollars per student and if they would like to do a summer because summer is not included. But if any of them would like to advance and take a summer programme, we will assist them as well. So definitely, I believe that is our part as a catholic institution to five back to our community, to give back to our people and what better way than to empower our officers who risk their lives every day for me, for you and for our nation as a whole.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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