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Vasquez family says police need more training on dealing with mentally unstable suspects

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Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019. 3:53 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The family of Nestor Vasquez Jr., who died following a tragic incident where police left him in a detention cell with a violent mental patient, is advocating for greater training for police officers to sensitize them on mental health issues.

The Vasquez family met with their attorney and the Belize Mental Health Organization yesterday and held a press conference after to discuss the content of that meeting. Jules Vasquez, news director at Channel 7 and the younger brother of the deceased, explained that the
family will be speaking to the police department about looking into the training with the new intake of police recruits.

“So we will push that with this upcoming intake of, I believe, a hundred and seventy new recruits, that mental health sensitivity training be an integral part of that.  So we will be liaising with the police department and with the Ministry of Health to push for that as urgently as possible because I know the training is imminent,” Vasquez said.

He added that the family will also be advocating with the relevant authorities for the installation of an acute mental health unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  This could be a small unit with only eight to ten beds but it is urgently needed, he said.

 

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