With the increased security within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the authorities have signaled their approval for the extra efforts that have come from the San Ignacio Police Formation. In a recent letter sent to Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, Officer in Charge of the San Ignacio Police by Earl Trapp Jr., Mayor San Ignacio and Santa Elena, there is expression of delight.
“It gives me great pleasure to extend my most sincere gratitude to your office and the San Ignacio Police Station for the level of service provided over the Christmas Holidays. I commend you for having teamed up with the officers of the Belize Defense Force and for taking the proactive approach in making our municipality safe throughout the Christmas weekend.”
In his letter, Mayor Earl Trapp also states, “The tremendous response from our residents is indeed overwhelming to have noted the vigilant patrol of officers across hot spots and busy routes throughout the municipality [of San Ignacio and Santa Elena]. It is no doubt that business owners and residents felt secure and the very minimal occurrences proved your strategy to be a complete success in law enforcement.”
We met with Reymundo Reyes, Deputy Officer in Charge of San Ignacio Police on Monday to get his response to the letter from Mayor Earl Trapp. According to Reymundo Reyes, San Ignacio Police have been preparing from the month of October of last year with their own strategies to combat crime and ensure traffic safety on the highways. However; from the beginning of December, San Ignacio Police began the implementation of extra patrols where police officers work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm then return at 6:00 pm to work up to 10:00 or 11:00 pm to do extra hours. Additionally, some 24 police officers, recent graduates from the Belmopan Police Academy, began working with San Ignacio Police as of December 23rd.
“These were officers, who were assigned at different business zones, residential areas within San Ignacio and Santa Elena…ensuring that the community was safe,” says Reyes.
“We intend to continue with that program of having these same police officers in this same area, but it will be expanded to other areas of responsibility.”
Reyes was referring to the recently initiated Community Oriented Police Program COPP, where 12 police officers will be dedicated for San Ignacio and 12 for Santa Elena. These 24 officers will be tasked to do patrols and get to know all persons, business places in their zones. A comprehensive database will be established by them within the zones. These officers will also record and report any concerns they see or that is reported to them, which will then be collated for necessary action.
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie recently visited San Ignacio Town and met in the San Ignacio Police Station Conference Room with the different stakeholders to forge the way forward for COPP. Present at this important meeting was the Hon. Omar Figueroa, Representative for Cayo North, Hon. Landy Habet, Representative for Cayo North East, Earl Trapp Junior, Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Andrew Ramirez Western Regional Commander and ASP Reymundo Reyes Deputy Officer in Charge of San Ignacio Police, ASP Gerald Jones Officer in Charge Community Oriented Policing Program COPP, Corporal Jason Jones and Corporal Ciriaco Medina from Community Police, San Ignacio. At this meeting, Commissioner Allen Whylie and ASP Gerald Jones presented on how COPP will work and the benefits of having the program within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena.
Both San Ignacio and Santa Elena have been divided into 6 zones each to facilitate the process of effective community policing. The new Community Oriented Police Program initiative has been well received by the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council and others, with a majority pledging their full support to the programs.