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#408763 - 05/27/11 05:15 PM U.S. Embassy gives the cops guns, armor and more
Marty Offline
There's a brand new team of crime fighters on the streets of Belize city tonight. And it is thanks to the US sponsored Central American Regional Security Initiative that the city now boasts a team of motorcycle cops that look like they came straight out of one of those Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry movies. The unit is made up of mostly veteran police officers, and has been outfitted with spanking new gear and equipment.

They're not hard to miss, the full black uniform and gear is meant to command respect and attention. The equipment and gear valued at $80,000 US dollars were proudly on display today at the Eastern Division headquarters on Queen street. The donation represents the largest investment in a single police unit and it includes 12 motorcycles, bulletproof vests, wireless communications equipment, police uniform accessories and kits, that will ensure that every member of this quick response mobile team will be properly outfitted, to combat what's become 'all out' urban warfare in the old capital.

ACP Elodio Aragon, Jr. - Officer Commanding, Eastern Division
"The whole purpose of this team is that since they are on cycles, they are more quickly to respond to certain incidents and they are easier to operate within certain areas of Belize City - if there is a need that they have to move up quickly they can cut through alleys where the normal police vehicle cannot go. So this whole team has been established over two months now. We deploy them but the fact is that they weren't as effective as we would have like them to be due to the fact that they haven't have the basic equipment such as the firearm, the bullet proof vest and the other basic police equipment but now that we have gotten this they will be now more effective on the streets in the sense that they will have the communication to communicate with one another etc. likewise the police department is assigning a vehicle to support the cycle team alone, now they being a standalone unit will be able to operate in specific areas at a moment's notice, so depending on the intelligence that come about - depending on the situation that arises we will be able to tell them listen this is the area you to focus and this is how you will patrol these areas and we put them in that area so they will be able to move around depending on where the need arises."

Jennifer Barr, US Embassy Political Officer
"As the US Embassy prioritize its citizen security it's extremely important to us as well as building capacity especially in the rule of law. This also includes professionalization of the police, they use some of our strategies and obviously this fits very much into our goals. These donations which I will talk about briefly in just a moment go towards that professionalization as well as building citizen security and safety."

Smartly outfitted with their field gear and body armor, 9mm glock at their side, this latest team of street cops say they are ready for the mean streets of the city.

PC Guido Marin, Team Lead - Motorcycle Unit
"This new gear here is going to allow us to feel more confident, more prepared to engage the people and the criminals outside so we can do a better job. More confidence in the officers performing their duties."

Jim McFadzean
"Now I notice that you guys have a substantial number of radios for communication. Prior to these equipment that are being deliver today, did each officer have a radio before?"

PC Guido Marin, Team Lead - Motorcycle Unit
"No, we didn't have radios for all the officers. What we use to do is break up in groups and each team of four had at least two radios each, so we had communication, there was no communication problem, but now that all of us have radios it's going to be a lot better - more efficient."

Jim McFadzean
"You are a career police officer - 13 years, why transfer to this new unit - the Motorcycle Unit?"

PC Eldon Myvette, 13 Year Police Veteran
"Well like I said, crime is escalating. We from the police department - we have goals and apparently we have to move around to different units to make our job more complete so we just move to the cycle unit to continue on the streets going through small alleys and combat crime."

Jim McFadzean
"So the motorcycles are absolutely going to make your life a lot easier in terms of mobility?"

PC Eldon Myvette, 13 Year Police Veteran
"Definitely because where the mobiles cannot through these cycles will go through the small alleys and in combination with the mobile can assist us greatly in circulating the criminals and make us more better off."

PC Tyler Castillo, 10 Year Police Veteran
"It's a heartfelt donation first of all. The way I personally feel it's going to assist us, it's going to make our appearance on the streets more professional and our equipment comes in at a very handy time, if you notice we have our firearms and stuff, so it's going to really and truly assists us greatly."

Jim McFadzean
"Prior to the delivery of these equipment. What made your life difficult?"

PC Tyler Castillo, 10 Year Police Veteran
"Basically just the safety issue in terms of we not having our bullet proof vest, we not having again communication equipment, without firearm and our bullet proof vest it keeps us in harm's way but now that we have it me personally feel much safer going into the streets and providing a great service to my country."

Jim McFadzean
"What is the main objective of the unit as you see it?"

PC Tyler Castillo, 10 Year Police Veteran
"It is to combat crime, a quick response in areas that are not accessible by vehicles. Our motorcycle will reach in a more rapid time and a quicker response."

Also included in the donation are 3 Interview room kits to assist and enable the police to record both audio and video of the interviews they conduct, which the Police hopes will reduce allegations of confessions given under duress. Also included in the package is training in the use of the new equipment. This new team of Motorcycle cops is in addition to the business watch team that already operates downtown Belize city with 8 or so motorcycles.

Channel 7


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#408766 - 05/27/11 05:21 PM U.S. Embassy gives the cops guns, armor and mo [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

U.S. Embassy gives the cops guns, armor and more

The US government stepped up to the plate today to assist in the fight against crime. Through a regional initiative which benefits Central American countries and Mexico, it today made available a sizeable donation to the police. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was on hand.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Eighty-thousand U.S. dollars of equipment were donated to the Eastern Division better known as the Queen Street Police station. The crime fighting equipment is part of the U.S. Government’s Central America Regional Security Initiative.

Jennifer Barr

Jennifer Barr, Political/Acting Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy

“The US Embassy prioritizes citizen security—extremely important to us—as well as building capacity in the rule of law. This also includes professionalization of the police. These are some of our major strategies and obviously this fits very much in our goals. These donations which I’ll talk about briefly here in just a moment go toward that professionalization as well as building citizens security and safety. We are very happy to support this capacity building and the professionalization of the police department especially here of Queen Street. Actually today’s donation represents the largest donation to a single unit and this I think goes to how strongly we support Queen Street as well as the Belize Police Department.”

Elodio Aragon

Asst. Commissioner Elodio Aragon, Officer Commanding Eastern Division

“Let me from the outset congratulate the U.S. government and our government in responding to our call for assistance in acquiring basic police equipment for our police officers that is today a necessity. Earlier this year, the U.S. government under the CARSI program assisted the Belize Police Department with twelve police motorcycles to create a cycle team for Belize City. Today, they are assisting us again with additional equipment such as bulletproof vests, helmets, wireless communications and other essential kits for the motorcycle team to be well kitted whilst in the execution of their duties. It is hope that our department will continue to support and expand the cycle team. Other basic police equipment being received are mostly in the form of uniform kits such as: duty belts, flashlights, holsters, handcuffs and many other equipment that are today essential for policing. They have also assisted with three interview room equipment that will greatly assist or investigations unit in the way we go about interviewing suspects and conducting investigations. These interview equipments will enable the police to record both audio and video of the interviews it conducts which will greatly assist—not only in reducing allegations of abuse, but also in recording of these interviews for future use. Likewise, the Ministry of Police and Public Safety has assisted us with the acquisition of fifty new nine millimeter pistols to be used and deployed in Belize City to our patrol officers. Along with these weapons, the department will also assist in the necessary training to be done so that the police officers who will be handling these weapons be certified in its use and safety.”

Daren Casimiro

The police constables are also content that they are now equipped to patrol dangerous neighborhoods and properly process crime scenes.

P.C. Daren Casimiro, Belize Police Department

“We plan to use the firearm—the firearm is when we go in the areas so that we can always protect ourselves. And with the bulletproof vest, it is the same thing wise. With the motorcycle, we could go through the alley and we could maneuver so we could pass through the alley. You noh have nothing fi escape we could move faster to ketch the person fi detain and so. Weh we could get we suspected candidates and sometihng.”

Jose Sanchez

“Before the department received this equipment what were you doing?”

P.C. Daren Casimiro

“All we mi have dah only the motorcycle weh we mi got. And we mi use the number 1 uniform and we mi got wah bulletproof vest fi protect wiself and wah firearm. But now that we got these more equipment from the U.S. Embassy, we appreciate that and we give them ‘nuff thanks for that.”

Athon Martinez

P.C. Athon Martinez, Belize Police Department

“Since we are well equipped now, we plan to go into the more dangerous area and be more effective, a little more efficient. All the more equipments make us well—uniform—I guess the public will respect us more.”

Jennifer Barr

“Some of the duty belts, field gear, body armor, the motorcycles, helmets and the AC also mention interview rooms as well. One of the rooms will actually be assisting the domestic violence unit which we feel is very important which will go to support women and children. At the embassy we feel that children are absolutely the future here in Belize and the youth is an essential part.”

Asst. Commissioner Elodio Aragon

“There is no question that we are facing challenging times that dictate an environment of constant change and advancement. And if we are to reduce violent crime, we must continue to regain the confidence and support of the communities we serve and improve the condition of service of our police officers. This will no doubt come about with an improved level of professionalism along with innovative crime fighting strategies, implementation of technology and a renewed focus towards community service oriented policing on our part. And most importantly, a supportive and cooperative community that is willing to assist in dealing with crime.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Last November, CARSI provided nine hundred and fifty thousand US dollars to community groups.

Channel 5


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