|Sgt. Melbourne Alvarez of the San Pedro
Recently police departments throughout the country of Belize celebrated
Police Week. This week was set aside to work closely with the community
to educate and sensitize them to the everyday work of a police officer.
In San Pedro, the police department was very visible during the week
taking part in various activities. Police officers play a vital role in
every community to secure the peace and tranquility of its residents. It
is with this in mind that we salute an officer of the San Pedro Police
Department who has been an outstanding role model in the police force and
works closely with the community, Sergeant Mel- bourne Alvarez.
Melbourne Alvarez was born in the
southern part of Belize in Dangriga Town on May
28th, 1968. Soon
after, his family moved to Orange Walk where Melbourne attended St.
Peter's Elementary School. Before he completed his primary education, his
family once again moved to Dangriga where he graduated from Holy Ghost
School. Young Mel- bourne was an ambitious youth and strived for his
secondary education at Ecumenical High School in Dangriga, graduating in
1984. Following graduation Melbourne returned to Orange Walk and
discovered a sad truth about life. Jobs were scarce and he had to jump
into the first opening that was available. Not being a stranger to hard
work, Melbourne became a laborer, working on various construction
projects and also working in the sugar fields that are abundant in that
district. Deep inside he knew that the break he was looking for would
come. What he was very sure of was that, whatever his career choice was
going to be, it would be one that he could work closely with and assist
the public. This opportunity soon arrived. In June of 1985 he joined the
Police Training School in Belmopan and underwent six intensive months of
learning basic police duties, first aid and criminal law.
Immediately after graduation Officer Alvarez was
posted to the Patrol Branch in Belize City where he worked for one year.
In 1987 he received his first transfer to the Criminal Investigation
Branch (CIB) and in 1991 to the Serious Crimes Squad. In 1992 Officer
Alvarez's dedication to the force paid off as he received his first
promotion to Corporal. It was during his time in this position that he
educated himself through refresher courses and a series of workshops and
seminars which included Maritime Law Enforcement, Drug Enforcement, Drug
Interdiction, Introduction to Computers and a Joint Intelligence
Coordinating Center (JICC) Field Operation Seminar. All this time
Corporal Alvarez was stationed in Belize City. After three years he
received his first transfer out, taking him to Corozal Town as the
Corporal in charge of a relief. He stayed in this position for one year
and attended another seminar; Detection of Stolen Vehicle Training. At
the end of that year, 1996, he was promoted to Sergeant and was notified
of his transfer on January
15th, 1997, to San
Sergeant Alvarez has always been game for a challenge
and he knew that this would be a good one. He came to San Pedro as a Non
Commissioned Officer (NCO) in charge of the entire police station. He had
the responsibility of running the station on a day-to-day basis. This was
different than other positions he had previously held. Sergeant Alvarez
told the San Pedro Sun, "I had to be
strong. I was immediately introduced to a lifestyle I was not accustomed
to but as a police officer you learn to adapt quickly to a new
environment. All this was made much easier by the friendly people of the
island. I had the full support of the community."
While in San Pedro, Sergeant Alvarez attended two
additional workshops. In 1998 he attended the Prosecution of Drug
Offences Advanced Training Workshop in Belize City and the Sergeant's
General Duties Course in December of 1998, held in Barbados. Sergeant
Alvarez noted there have been a significant amount of changes since 1997.
He stated that the amount of officers on the island has grown from 12 to
16, and there is more discipline and better police public relations,
which they hope to continue by forming more Neighborhood Watch groups.
When asked if he foresees himself on the island for a longer amount of
time, he commented that this decision is left up to higher authorities in
Belmopan. In the past he has never asked to be transferred. What he looks
forward to is his next promotion which would make him a deserving
Assistant Inspector of Police. The promotion is a decision of the
Promotional Board of Directors and the results of the yearly exams.
"As the Non Commissioned Officer in Charge, I'm
working hard, along with my police officers to provide quality service to
San Pedro. We strive to improve ourselves on a daily basis. Just recently
we attended a Hospitality Workshop. I would like to urge the community
not to be afraid to call and assist the police with information whenever
necessary. The police alone cannot fight crime. We need the support of
the community, which I am proud to say, has been excellent in San Pedro,"
ended Sergeant Alvarez.
The task of a police officer without a doubt, is a
very difficult one. They are easily criticized and not often praised for
their efforts. Sergeant Alvarez has truly served as an example of a
community-minded officer who has gained respect and the deserved title of
Sergeant of San Pedro Town. Our Community takes pride in saluting
Sergeant Melbourne Alvarez.