Usually when we’re called out to Police Training School in Belmopan it is to witness the passing out of a new squad of men and women in uniform. Today was different, but no less of an auspicious occasion, as selected men and women from every rank in the Belize Police Department received official promotions within the department. Mike Rudon was in Belmopan today and has the story.
Mike Rudon, Reporting
The gathering was typical of such occasions at the Police Training School, with the traditional marching on and off the parade grounds. But it wasn’t new recruits taking their first turn as Police Officers today. This time it was seasoned officers being recognized for their consistent performance, above and beyond the call of duty. The notice went out in 2013.
Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police
“Instructions went out in departmental orders in 2013 that we would have promotions. A date was set, a syllabus was published and persons were invited to apply; those who were eligible, an internal process took place where each officer’s personal file was checked and once they met the criteria, then a notice was published within the departmental orders as to who were eligible. Those who were ineligible were also informed that they were ineligible. Some were ineligible either because they did not have the years of service or they had been convicted of some disciplinary infraction over the past twelve months.”
One hundred and sixty-six officers were promoted today, from the level of Corporal, the first elevation in the department, to the level of Deputy Commissioner of Police, the second highest in the Department. They were all recognized today with much fanfare. There is a new top brass in the department – brand new Assistant Commissioners of Police Robert Mariano, Dezeree Phillips, Joseph Myvett and Aaron Guzman. They will be led by the new Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura.
“Mr. Segura not only he did a phenomenal job as the Officers Commanding Eastern Division which us the most difficult position or post to hold within the department operationally, but he is also the more senior of all the assistant commissioners of police. So he was worthy of, deserving of and he has been promoted.”
“Then now with Miss Dezerie Phillips filling in as his replacement, are you confident that she is up to the job to deal with one of the most difficult policing jurisdictions?”
“Yes I am confident. Each and every officer that was promoted was promoted as I said on merit, on their qualities and leadership ability. She is a senior officer, she has lot of years of service, she has experience, she has been deputy OCED when Mister Segura was the OCED; they have built a very good management team in Eastern Division. And to ensure continuity and as well as the fact that she is competent, we had no difficult the senior command, the policy group when we looked at replacement to recommend her.”
With the pomp and ceremony out the way, Minister of Police John Saldivar took the opportunity to blame the media for some of the negative perception about the Police Department, stating that the Police should be judged only by statistics, and not by emotions.
John Saldivar, Minister of Police
“If we look at the successes that we have had over the past year and compare to the first six months of this year, we can see some slippages—slippages which if not carefully studied can give a false impression on the effectiveness of our police department. And while it is easy to judge the department by perceptions, perceptions largely created by a media hungry for news, it is so easy for one to judge. It is not fair to judge the department on notions and emotions. The department should be judged by statistics; the department must be judged objectively.”
According to Saldivar, it is easy to fall victim to the hype that the sky is falling down…but that is just hype, and not the reality.
“Though we have seen a spike in shootings and murders in Belize City of recent, Belize City is still fourteen murders lower than our statistics for last years and last year was our best year. So Belize City is still doing better than we did last year. Last year this time at the end of June 2013, we had forty-six murders in the City of Belize. This year at the end of June, we had only thirty-two. Of course one murder is one murder too much and our police department continue to do its best to deal with the scourge.”
But with those statistics out the way, the day belonged to the one hundred and sixty-six newly promoted officers of the Belize Police Department, who were left with one sobering note.
“Don’t take anything for granted. You have been recognized, you’ve been promoted today. So do the right thing each and every time because when you don’t do the right thing, the same thing that has been given to you can be taken away from you. Protect what you have and I say to those officers who were not promoted in this tranche, don’t lose hope, don’t lose hope. We will continue.”
The ceremony was well attended by friends and family of the Police Officers who received validation for their hard work today. Mike Rudon for News Five.