Team from U.S Embassy visits the San Ignacio Police Formation Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:00

A high powered team from the United States Embassy in Belmopan has visited the San Ignacio Police Formation. United States Ambassador to Belize, Carlos Moreno, accompanied by Luis Arreaga, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement for the Western Hemisphere  INL, visited San Ignacio Police on Tuesday of this week to learn about their unique community policing approach to reducing crime.

Present for the meeting was Officer in Charge of San Ignacio Police Dinsdale Thompson, Ernie Braun, Chairman of the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association (CNWA) and Caesar Sherrard, head of the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC. Also present in the conference room were members of the Zone Ten Neighborhood Watch Committee, the San Ignacio Rotary Club as well as Police Special Constables.

Given the support that the U.S Embassy has provided to both the CNWA and the PCC in bringing crime rates down to manageable levels, (operate in the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Areas) under the Central American Regional Security Initiative CARSI and INL, U.S Ambassador Carlos Moreno, admitted Tuesday that “you are a victim of your own success.” The U.S Embassy has in the past assisted the San Ignacio Police with an Evidence Room, Finger printing recognition system, ATVs’, bicycles, tents, chairs, radios, cameras and binoculars. Just recently the U.S Embassy also provided San Ignacio Police with two brand new vehicles.

(But Historian Hector Silva was in the conference room on Tuesday and reminded that given the low crime levels, “...complacency is the worst thing that the people can entertain.” He urged all to continuing the anti-crime agenda especially when it comes to drugs being sold near high schools and liquor being sold to minors.)

Ambassador Carlos Moreno told the gathering that in the U.S he has resided in the same neighborhood for 35 years and believed that the neighborhood watch is a “good structure.” Ambassador Carlos Moreno has been in Belize in his new post for just six weeks.

Meanwhile; Luis Arreaga commented to the groupings that it was great to see citizens and police “sitting at the same table.” He said he was there on a learning mission since it has been decided that the San Ignacio community policing experience should be replicated in the rest of Central America and other areas.

In speaking with the Guardian Newspaper, Luis Arreaga said that he was in Belize to get a sense of the situation, to meet with civil society and Government to get a better understanding of what the needs of Belize are “…so that we can address the citizen security issues that we care very much about.” He said that his findings have so far indicated that “We have a great partnership with Belize, we have challenges together, we work well and I think Belize is a good story in terms of the work that the community and the police are doing and we are proud to be a part of it and we are very proud to be working and supporting this activity.”