After a week of training, San Pedro Town now has 16 additional law enforcement officers with the title of “Special Constable.” The 16 men graduated on Friday and officially took the oath of office before Superintendent of Police Noel Leal. “They will be acting in support of the San Pedro police officers,” Leal explained. “They will be enforcing the laws, they will have certain powers of arrest, but mostly they are here to support the San Pedro Police Department. “It is like putting sixteen new police officers to the San Pedro detachment in an effort to help us fight and reduce crime in the area,” Leal added.
The Special Constables will work under the supervision and instruction of the officer commanding the San Pedro Police Department, Inspector Juachim Sabal. Sabal said he plans to divide San Pedro and Ambergris Caye into a series of “zones,” then assign the Special Constables to specific zones.
Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Representative for Belize Rural South, said that the San Pedro Town Council and business community of San Pedro will pay the expenses for the Special Constable program including providing a small stipend, providing radios and transportation.
The new Special Constables started working immediately upon graduation, filling various shifts last weekend. Thomas Requeña, a boat captain who works in the tourism industry in San Pedro, agreed to become a Special Constable in order to prevent crime from hurting the tourism industry. “I’ve been living out here for the past six years and I am a boat captain and my main interest is that I am in the tourism business and whatever crimes happen on this island, everyone gets affected by it, especially us as tour guides.”
Evan Vernon who works as a security guard, also accepted to take part in this course. He said he wanted to become a Special Constable in order to contribute to the community. “I believe you have to contribute to the development of a society, if not you are just going to be on the sidelines and we need people that want to be involved.”
Sergeant Marcelo Choco and Sergeant Lanza were in charge of training the Special Constables. “What we did for the past four days is to equip them with the basic knowledge that a law enforcement officer needs to be on the street, to lawfully effect an arrest, and eventually take the matter to court,” said Choco.
Congratulations to the Special Constables for helping make Ambergris Caye a safer place!