Over a dozen San Pedro residents have stepped forward to be the newest weapon to fight crime on “La Isla Bonita.” The men were vetted prior to being invited to take part in this program before agreeing to be part of the new Police Special Constable program. They spent the entire week in training, and once they have completed their preparation, they will be duly sworn in and have the same authority as policemen.
On Monday, Belize Police Commissioner Gerald Westby opened the training session in the San Pedro Town Hall with words of encouragement, “your job will be to complement the effort of the trained police here in San Pedro,” Commissioner Westby told the trainees. “We will not allow the criminals of San Pedro to get the better of this community.”
Westby said his police force has made significant changes in order to better fight crime in San Pedro including replacing the top ranking police offers on the island and bringing in police with special skills, including a forensics technician.
The San Pedro Town Board has agreed to pay the Special Constables a small stipend. Westby also stressed that the community must work closely with the police and the Constables to fight crime. “It’s a community effort; they are helping us and they have more visibility on the streets to prevent crime, but it takes all of us.”
Julio Tucker is one of volunteer for the Special Constable program. “Because of everything that has happened, I would like to be a special constable to cooperate with the community,” Tucker told The San Pedro Sun. “I want to help to fight crime,” he added. Tucker is a security guard at Banyan Bay
Once trained, the Special Constables will work under the direction of the San Pedro Police Department. Commissioner Westby stressed that these new “officers” should be put into action as situations arise. He added that the Special Constables will be used primarily to prevent crime by patrolling the island and seeking out problems on the island.
Westby said the training will next be conducted in Caye Caulker and Placencia where both communities have also committed to pay the stipends for the Special Constables.
The San Pedro Sun congratulations to all those training to become Special Constables and to help fight crime in San Pedro!