It has been a less than stellar week for the Belize Police Department, as the men and women of law enforcement have been finding themselves on the wrong side of the legal system.  Earlier today, a pair of officers was arraigned in the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court on a joint charge of extortion, after they squeezed a primary school principal of four hundred dollars for driving without insurance.  Woman Police Constable Jenny Tanner and Police Constable Arden Jones were both working a vehicle checkpoint in Punta Gorda when the educator approached the spot check.  When they discovered that her insurance had expired two days earlier, the duo threatened to impound the vehicle and revoke her driver’s license, unless she forked over some cash.  The principal handed over the money and immediately reported the matter to their superior who was able to recover the sum.  Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams provided details of the incident, as well as the disciplinary measures that will be taken against the officers.

On the Phone: ACP Chester Williams, O.C., Professional Standards Branch

“Sometime around 7:30, thereabout on August eighth, 2017, a school principal of Toledo District reported to police that on said date she arrived at a checkpoint in Punta Gorda Town where her vehicle was inspected by a police officer who notified her that the insurance on her vehicle had expired two days prior and that she would be arrested and charged for driving a motor vehicle not covered by a third party risk insurance.  The principal was then escorted to the Punta Gorda Town Police Station by WPC Jenny Tanner who, along the way, told the principal that the offense is of a serious nature and that her vehicle would be impounded and her driver’s license revoked.  She then went on to inform the teacher that she can settle the matter financially.  When they arrived at the Punta Gorda Town Police Station, PC Arden Jones who was one of the officers from the checkpoint approached the principal and asked her how much she was willing to pay.  The principal, fearing the revocation of her driver’s license and her vehicle being impounded, replied “three hundred.”  PC Jones then allowed her to go to the bank to withdraw the money which she did and return couple minutes later and handed the money over to PC Jones.  She was then released from custody and had her vehicle returned to her.  Shortly thereafter, she reported the matter to Assistant Superintendent of Police Clement Cacho, Officer Commanding Punta Gorda Town Police Station, who went to the office where Jones was and he immediately retrieved the money that had been paid to Jones.  That was a total of four hundred Belize currency in denominations of one hundred dollar bills.  As a result of that, WPC Jenny Tanner and PC Arden Jones have been charged for the crime of extortion.  They were arraigned this morning in the Punta Gorda Town Magistrate’s Court where they both pled not guilty and were offered and met bail in the sum of three thousand dollars.  The matter has since been adjourned.  Both constables will be facing a series of disciplinary charges in respect to the said matter.”

Isani Cayetano

“Have they been placed on interdiction?  What happens next from your office as the Professional Standards Branch?”

On the Phone: ACP Chester Williams

“A recommendation has been made to the office of the commissioner to have both officers placed on interdiction and that, I believe, was done before the day ended today.”

Channel 5