Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2019. 2:55 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: On July 31, thirty-six police officers – 21 from Belize and 15 from El Salvador – became new Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) instructors.
The G.R.E.A.T. program is one of the many tools the United States is supporting in Belize, and the Central American region, to improve citizen security, decrease impunity, and prevent crime.
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges spoke at the ceremony and underscored the Embassy’s partnership with the Belize Police Department and other organizations that seek to prevent youth from being drawn into gangs.
Superintendent Gerald Jones, Commandant of the National Police Training Academy was present and addressed the instructors at the ceremony.
The 8-day G.R.E.A.T. instructor training was supported by the U.S. Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs program and was taught by three trainers from the G.R.E.A.T. National Program in the United States, and five trainers from the Belize Police Department.
The G.R.E.A.T. program seeks to assist youth to identify gang recruitment and avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship between young people and law enforcement. The program uses a skills-based approach that draws on cognitive, behavioral, and effective learning.
The G.R.E.A.T. program uses only sworn law enforcement officers as trainers to begin that relationship building process, provide the students with positive role models, and to capitalize on the officers’ experience in dealing with criminal behavior and its ramifications, as well as their ability to recognize gang members and recruitment methods.
As of today, a total of 269 police officers have been trained as G.R.E.A.T. instructors and, most importantly, over 20,758 children have completed the program in Belize.
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