The United States Embassy, through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), handed over more than US$1 million worth of equipment to the Belize Police Department during a short ceremony at the Roger’s Stadium on Wednesday, June 6.
Among the things received were 17 vehicles, 10 of which will be used for patrol purposes; new bullet-proof vests; computers; minibuses for prisoner transport and community policing initiatives; and even a new vehicle for the scenes of crime unit which has been equipped with over $90,000 of equipment.
Four of the new vehicles have already been fitted with the department’s new Fleet Management System (FMS), which will allow Police headquarters to monitor the mobiles at all times, especially their whereabouts and how much fuel they have consumed.
The vehicles have also been fitted with traffic cams which record and stream video footage of the vehicles’ interior and exterior.
Minister of National Security John Saldivar addressed the public’s concern that these new vehicles might be in disrepair in a matter of months, saying that with the new systems in place, the Department will be able to maintain full accountability for the vehicles at all times, assuring their longevity.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr. explained that the new mobiles will be used in the 11 new police zones. There will be one mobile for each zone.
Aragon said that this will greatly increase police response time to 911 calls, and over-all police presence in these areas.
United States Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally said that while crime stopping measures are a necessity, crime prevention measures, particularly youth oriented programs are essential to combating the crime situation in Belize.
CARSI is expected to sign over to Belize another US$1.1 million next month for at risk youth programs in Belize.