Border Jumpers - they're currently the biggest threat to Belize's public health - vectors for the Coronavirus who slip under radar along Belize's porous borders. And they just seem to keep coming.

And now, this dire public health threat has become a nation security issue; the cops have to find and arrest these border jumpers and contraband smuggler before they make contact with the general population. It's a herculean, if not impossible task, and the only way they can do it is with help from the public.

That's why this morning Commissioner Chester Williams pulled out all the bells and whistles when he launched 3 toll-free hotlines as well as a Facebook Page where the public will be able to report cross border movements.

I attended the ceremony at the Racoon Street police station.

Chester Willams, Commissioner of Belize
"I want to say again thank you to smart for the hotlines which are 0-800-JUMPERS and 0-800-BORDERS as well as to DIGI for the three hotlines which are 0-800-SAVEBZE."

"It now gives the public an opportunity or a vehicle to be able to report to the police whenever they see or suspect any person who is involved in any of these activities."

"Very essential in order for us to be able to achieve our objectives of reducing the occurrences of border jumping and contraband across our borders and so I want the public to understand that from a law enforcement standpoint we are going to do our utmost best to prevent these occurrences."

Cherisse Halsall reporting
And while the police are counting on your tips, they're also doing the groundwork.

Chester Willams, Commissioner of Belize
"We have two vehicles that will also be deployed to the border areas with police and military personnel patrolling the different blind spots with a view to ensuring that we plug those blind spots as much as we can."

But plugging those blindspots is nearly impossible because as the commissioner has admitted on several occasions, the borders are extensive and also porous. That's why combating the activities of border jumpers is much more than a 9-5 job.

Chester Willams, Commissioner of Belize
"They are going to be manned on a 24 hours basis and whenever information is received from any caller the teams that are out in the area patrolling are going to respond with a view to ensure that the information provided is going to be acted upon."

But what happens when that information is imperfect?:

Cherisse Halsall:
"What about concerns that these hotlines could lead to victimization in these border villages where neighbors might want to get someone into trouble."

Chester Willams, Commissioner of Belize
"The Ministry of Health does have its protocol that it uses in order to determine who goes into a quarantine center. They have a number of questions that they are asked and different health examinations are done and so it's not that because someone calls and says you're a border jumper means that the police should just go and pick you up and take you to a quarantine center. There are certain due diligence that must be done and that is going to be followed."

Again those Hotline numbers are 0-800-JUMPERS, 0-800-BORDERS, and 0-800-SAVEBZE.

And, the police effort got bolstered today when an anonymous donor handed over two Ford pickups specifically for patrolling for border jumpers.

Police Want Drones All Along The Border

But even a combat ready minister can't catch all the jumpers; truth is, no army or force of men and women can. That's why the cops are looking to drones to help police the border. This morning the Commissioner appealed to the business community for a donation of two industrial grade drones. He shared his wish list: Chester Willams, Commissioner of Belize: "I can tell you that we are trying our utmost best to get two drones but you would know the financial strain the government is in and so they have not been able to procure those drones but if there is anybody out there, any company who believes that they would like to be generous to the police department we are willing to accept the donation of two drones but again we don't want the home use we want the industrial type and we know that they are very costly. Those that we're trying to pro-cure run like $45,000 for one. So no we don't want the small little ones we want something almost similar or better than what channel 5 has."

Channel 7