Ambergris Caye has seen a notable increase over
the years in the arrival of tourists as well as people wishing to relocate here.
With this influx come good and bad elements of society. Still considered one of
the safer destinations in the world, crime still needs to be controlled on this
lovely island. To prevent crime from escalating and ensuring the safety of the
residents and tourists, the community relies on the police. This week we are
pleased to introduce a member of the San Pedro Police Department who is
instrumental in solving crimes - Detective Orlando Cruz.
On June 29th, 1977 Linda
Parham and Pedro Cruz celebrated the birth of their son Orlando Cruz in the
picturesque town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District. Orlando grew up a
responsible young man excelling in his studies at Sacred Heart Primary School
and High School. As a young boy he served a number of years as an altar boy for
his church. After graduating from high school in 1995, Orlando applied and was
accepted at St. John's College/Junior College in Belize City, but due to
financial restraints was unable to attend. However, a priest Orlando previously
worked with offered him a scholarship at a college in the Stann Creek District.
Determined to continue his education Orlando took advantage of the offer and
moved to Dangriga where he attended Stann Creek Ecumenical College. He graduated
in 1997, majoring in economics.
Upon his return to San
Ignacio, Orlando was hired as a part-time attendant to the medical personnel of
the San Ignacio Hospital. Seven months later he made a decision to pursue his
childhood dream of becoming a police officer and joined the police academy.
"When I was young I was fascinated by cop movies. I particularly enjoyed
detective stories and wanted to grow up to be a crime solver myself," Detective
Cruz told the San Pedro Sun.
On February 22nd, 1998 he enrolled in a six-month course
at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan undergoing strenuous physical and
mental exercises. Upon graduating, he joined the Criminal Investigation Branch
(CIB) posted as a detective in San Ignacio. As a plain clothes detective, Cruz's
duties entail dealing with the investigation of major crimes including murder,
rape, forgery and dangerous harm and the apprehension of felons committing these
crimes. Detective Cruz worked for one year and nine months in San Ignacio before
his transfer to San Pedro in July of 2000.
To further his investigative knowledge Detective Cruz attended a two-week CIB
course at the Police Training Academy and another Special Forces training course
at Camp Belizario in San Ignacio. Since his transfer to San Pedro, Detective
Cruz has given his best to ensure that crime remains at a minimum. Although his
normal work schedule is from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, five
days-a-week, he is on-call 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. "I thoroughly
enjoy my work, but sometimes it is difficult for us (policeman) to do our work
properly because politics get in the way. Although I want to remain in this
profession for some time, I have not given up hope of getting a pilot's license,
another of my childhood dreams," stated Detective Cruz.
When Detective Cruz takes a breather from this
demanding job he enjoys reading, especially the works of author John Grisham. He
exercises regularly and is also a talented painter. He has sketched a number of
impressive pieces, a talent he says he inherited from his father who is an
As "La Isla Bonita" continues to grow as the
number one vacation destination of many, the residents of San Pedro are pleased
they can rely on the proper investigative skills and police duties that
Detective Orlando Cruz has sworn to uphold in "Our Community."