By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist
The operational arm of southside Belize City, the police strike team established by Eastern Division South Commander, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, recently became fully functional.
The team is tasked with carrying out operations in various sections of the city to prevent crime and violence.
Created about two years ago, the Strike Team operates in different areas of the city but focuses mainly on the southside.
Its function is to conduct daily stop and searches, house searches, and vehicle searches to look for drugs, guns and ammunition.
The Strike Team is an elite group of 36 qualified officers. The team was trained to work in the field and to strategically fight crime by finding weapons before they are used.
For an officer to join the elite team, he/she must be committed. Officer in charge of operating the Strike Team, Sergeant Denroy Barrow said the team is able to work under little supervision.
Barrow said “without the presence of these officers in those areas the violence and shootings will definitely be out of hand.” Since Barrow took over last October, the team has found more than a dozen illegal firearms.
The southside Strike Team is divided into four groups. They are posted at different strategic locations 24-hours a day, seven-days-a-week. A strike team operates in the Lake Independence Area, another in the Ceasar Ridge area, as well as the Jane Usher Boulevard and Ghost Town areas.
The team conducts pre-dawn house searches, which can be legally conducted without a warrant. Barrow, however, said the team is trained to never abuse authority or use excessive, unjustifiable force.
The team undergoes a 30-minute briefing every day before deployment to reiterate the values of the Strike Team.