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Education Campaign for Citizens on Patrol Program begins in Cayo Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00

Residents in the Cayo District have been introduced to an innovative community policing approach, the Citizens on Patrol Program COP. Issuing the drum beat was retired Superintendent of Police Rudolf Orio, who is now in charge of the Citizens on Patrol and Special Constables Program across Belize. A call was made by Rudolf Orio for citizens to support COP on Friday night of last week in Benque Viejo del Carmen and also on Wednesday night of last week in San Ignacio Town.

In his recent visit to Benque Viejo Town, Rudolf Orio was received at the Mount Carmel High School auditorium by Officer Commanding of Benque Viejo del Carmen, Daniel Arzu, and his assistant Stanley Bodden as well as members of the public.  Rudolf Orio stated therein that the citizens can take a part in assisting the police for a safer environment through COP.

While in San Ignacio, Rudolf Orio also said that community policing is a tool that can change the dynamics in communities. Having given 37 years of service to the Belize Police Department, Rudolf Orio said that gangs are now affecting business places, kindergartens and universities. He called on the business community to assist the Police in the fight against crime. At the same time, he said that the Police should not be “social engineers.” With the availability of drugs and firearms, “…we are all at risk,” he said.

According to Rudolf Orio, the Police Coalitions and Neighborhood Watches need to be revived in other parts of the Country and he detailed the hallmarks of the Citizens on Patrol Program, which may fittingly be drawn out from these two groups.

The Citizens on Patrol Program is a Community Policing Program sponsored by the Belize Police Department and is now partially being funded by the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). The purpose of the program is to enlist private citizens to volunteer time to actively patrol their community, to listen, watch and report criminal behavior to the police.

Rudolf Orio told the Guardian Newspaper that COP was first founded in the United States of America and was started in Belize in 2005, but it then diminished in force. However, the Belize Police Department is now taking another effort at COP, “…looking at communities to assist with the funding.” He said that training under COP will start in Belize City soon and the plans are to do training throughout the Country.

Meanwhile; the Volunteer Special Constable VSC, which also falls under Rudolf Orio’s responsibility, enables citizens from all walks of life to contribute to make their communities much safer by providing supporting roles to the Belize Police Department. The VSC persons shall only be valid whilst on active duty and only within the jurisdiction of their appointment.

To join COP or the VSC, members of the public can now obtain application forms at any of the Community Policing Officers or Commanding Officers in Belize.

COP’s mission statement is as follows:
“Policing together to meet challenges, creating partnership, finding solutions.”

Rudolf Orio believes that with his visit and tour of the Cayo District last week, more volunteers will be forthcoming towards the COP and VSC Programs. He is convinced that the Local Government, Town Boards and Village Councils should also get involved in both programs, which promise to make Belize a much safer place.