Asst. Supt. Alden Dawson
Sr. Sup. Russell Bracket
ACP Elodio Aragon

The Belize City Police Department has a new leader in Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr, who takes over as commander of Eastern Division Police Headquarters, with Senior Superintendent Russell Blackett as his Deputy Commander and Assistant Superintendent of Police Alden Dawson taking over the Crimes Investigation Branch (CIB).

Police Press Officer Fitzroy Yearwood introduced the new commanders at a press conference at the Raccoon Street Police Station conference room on Monday, September 6th, at which the new leaders expressed their resolve to fight the violence that continues to plague Belize City.

Aragon replaces Assistant Commissioner of Police David Henderson, who has been transferred, and Dawson takes over from Julio Valdez.

The new com-manders outlined their plan to fight crime in the city. Their initial focus will be that area known to the police as Zone 4, where at least two homicides and a number of shooting incidents have occurred over the past few weeks.

Superintendent Blackett laid it out, plain and straight, “The concerned area which is Zone Four has been narrowed down to certain blocks. We know for a fact that the problem lies within this area in a triangle. There are about three nests of housing areas that are difficult to police. However, we have strategized this morning how effectively we will get into this area and do some operations there.

We have a planned operation. I am not at liberty to tell you, or otherwise I will be forecasting my strategy to the guys in the street. But definitely we will see a more focused effort on this... We will be getting a bit more personnel on the ground to cut off certain zone areas—we know we have the Cairo Street area; we have the Orange Street area, the Berkeley Street, Rocky Road. George Street area that is bounded by Plues Street, George Street, Berkeley Street and West Canal.

Blackett said the gang leaders are using young people to do their dirty work.

“I am telling you from the age of about 10 years to about 17 years. But mainly the core is 10 to 14 years, who are being used by these so-called gang leaders. Why I say that is that we have a lot of dropouts from school and they fall easy prey and targets and are being used,” Blackett told the media.

Aragon said, “I must stress that the general public who live in those areas need to assist the Police Department. We can put the numbers out there but we need the assistance of the public to give us the information on people who are moving in those areas; people who are intent on committing criminal acts we need to know. This thing is not just a matter for the Police Department because people who live in those areas are well aware of people who are involved in these criminal acts.”

“We are asking the general public to assist us to ensure that we put effective police in their area and this can only be done if we work together. We want to make that Zone Four a safer place for all.

Now, coming on the ground we need to look at this thing systemically, we have to look at this thing strategically as to what needs to be done so that we can deal with the situation. We know the problem is there but we need to put in the proper intelligence architecture that will give us the information that we need for the police officers on the ground to effectively deal with the problem.

“This does not happen overnight. For the longest I know Belize City has always been the area of concern, but I can tell you right now we are working on that diligently.”

Aragon also stressed that he will not abide police corruption. Officers must perform their duties in as professional a manner as they possibly can, he insisted.

The Reporter