|Six new officers and OIC Arnold (front row, middle) arrived in San Pedro this week. (Missing from photo is WPC Ramos.)|
The Good Morning San Pedro Show aired live on the Reef Radio has been a vehicle for the community to address issues that are affecting us individually and as a town. This Tuesday, Assistant Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, along with Superintendent Aaron Guzman and new Officer in Charge (OIC) commanding San Pedro Town Inspector Denis Arnold, chose the media house as their means to address the island on the recent scandal involving past OIC commanding San Pedro Town Assistant Superintendent Humberto Patt and five other officers. The six men were jointly accused by 23-year-old Ryan Requena of “beating him up” while under police custody. After an extensive internal investigation by the Police Department’s Internal Affairs, Patt along with five officers (both police constables and corporals) were found to have participated in the horrific beating of Requena. For this, all men, explained Whylie on the air, were immediately put into interdiction meaning they were taken off active duty and placed on half salary. Whylie continued by stating that Patt will face the Security Services Commission, which is the judiciary body for police officers and Belize Defense Force personnel, to ascertain if any other charges should be levied against him. If found guilty he faces serious reprimand from the Commission and his salary may be deferred for six months or longer, he may get demoted or dismissed completely from the department. As for the other officers, they will face a Tribunal where, if found guilty, will face the same repercussions as Patt.
Whylie stated that Patt and his officers’ actions “were uncalled for and in my view completely unjustified. They brought shame and left a bad image of the department. I was horrified and shocked at the level of injury visible on Mr. Requena and, even though the medical practitioner classified the injuries as only wounding, the actions should not have occurred in the first place.” Before addressing other issues, Superintendent Aaron Guzman stated that, “under no circumstances will police brutality be tolerated. No matter what the rank, officers are not exempt from the law.”
New OIC Inspector Arnold was introduced to the community. “He is a very mature man with over 22 years of experience in the field. He is determined to re-build the community efforts and to work hand-in-hand with the community,” he stated. With the coming of Inspector Arnold to the San Pedro Department, come many changes as well. These were highlighted as follows:
Police officer replacement
With Patt and five other officers gone from the island, the San Pedro Police Department has now been replaced with six new officers and Inspector Arnold as OIC. They are the following:
Inspector Denis Arnold (right)
Age: 42 years
Years in the force: 22 years
Previous Experience: Maritime Wing Belize City, Traffic Patrol Corporal, Special Branch Belmopan, Planning Performance Review and Inspection Unit, 2nd in charge Traffic Department Belize City, Commandant for the Police Training.
Dale Aranda PC 121 – Tourism Police Unit (right)
Age: 37 years
Years in the force: Was on active duty for 13 years and re-enlisted a month ago on December 1st, 2007.
Previous Experience: Corozal – Patrol Branch, Belize City, Caye Caulker, Prosecution Department, Punta Gorda, and Independence.
Extra: International Performer for the Belize National Dance Company (has performed in Japan, France, Italy and Spain)
Sharmaine Robateau WCpl 834 – Tourism Police Unit (right)
Age: 37 years
Years in the force: 11 years, graduating from the Academy in 2003
Previous Experience: Tourism Police Detachment in Belize City
Jaime Gongora PC #469 (right)
Age: 25 years
Years in force: Has been in the force for 2 ½ months
Previous Experience: Operations in Belize City
Deon Broaster PC #32 (right)
Age: 20 years old
Years in force: 1 ½ years
Previous Experience: Belize City Patrol
Johnny Tun PC #650 (right)
Age: 25 years old
Years in force: 2 ½ months
Previous Experience: Belize City Patrol Branch
Missing from the line up is WPC B. Ramos
The San Pedro Police Department is seeking three individuals who would accept the post of Special Constables for the community. These three constables will go through the proper and necessary screening and will also go through adequate training. They will earn a salary of $900 a month. Anyone wanting to fill the posts please contact the San Pedro Police Department. Other Special Constables are also sought but in a voluntary basis.
Small peddlers of drugs – beware. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun Arnold stated that a big issue, which arose after speaking with the San Pedro Town Council as well as other governmental agencies, is the selling of drugs within town, to tourists and unabashedly in public. With the help of the Tourism Unit, his police detachment and, more importantly the public, Arnold is confident that the problem can be controlled.
- Treatment of prisoners
- Discipline and behavior of police officers whether in or out of uniform
- Zoning out and talking to the public, finding out about their concerns
- Working closely with Neighborhood Watches and the possibility of forming more
- Tourism officers to be used in the tourism industry, patrols on the beach and in tourist areas
- Working hand-in-hand with the Citizen Liaison Committee
- Eliminating the occurrences of police officers drinking while in uniform
- Drunk driving
- Minors being sold alcoholic beverages at the various establishments
In an interview with The San Pedro Sun Whylie stated that he believes that OIC Arnold was a great choice for San Pedro. “I have 22 years of experience, compared to the 11 years that ex- ASP Patt has. I am confident that by working together with the community a greater job can be accomplished,” commented OIC Arnold. He ended by once again appealing to the public’s assistance. A new era of policing has arrived and new Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department Inspector Denis Arnold leads the way.