Posted: Friday, June 2, 2023. 3:23 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The U.S. Embassy in Belize hosted 3 Belize Police Department (BPD) training events, all of which culminated in a graduation ceremony today.
A two-week Instructor Development Course (IDC) to enhance the training capacity of BPD Training Officers, a six-week Defensive Tactics train-the-trainer course designed to train select BPD officers as defensive tactics instructors, and the first cohort of students trained in Defensive Tactics by the newly certified BPD trainers.
Thirty-six officers graduated the IDC, 18 officers graduated the Defensive Tactics train-the-trainer course, and 18 officers were trained in Defensive Tactics.
Attendees at the graduation ceremony included U.S. Ambassador Michelle Kwan, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries Kareem Musa, and Commissioner of Police Chester Williams.
The training was supported by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
The IDC and Defensive Tactics train-the-trainer course both provided professional development for BPD officers who will now go back to their respective units and continue to train fellow officers.
“Increasing BPD officers’ skill in defensive tactics is of paramount importance. Officers who are trained, competent and capable in executing defensive tactics, are less likely to escalate the use of force when dealing with a suspect,” the U.S. Embassy noted.
In her keynote address, Ambassador Kwan affirmed, “These graduates have developed skills that will allow them to better train the rest of the police force going forward on important best practices that will benefit law enforcement professionals and members of the public alike while working to improve citizen security in Belize.”
In his remarks, Minister Musa encouraged the graduates to use their skills to protect and uplift those who rely on their guidance and support.
He further added that the true measure of their success lies not only in the depth of their expertise but also in the way they serve the public with compassion and respect.
In closing, he asked that they “embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and continue to learn and grow as professionals to further strengthen the bonds between law enforcement and the communities they serve”.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams underscored, “Partnership in law enforcement is key to achieving greater citizen security. This training marks another step in the partnership between Belize and the United States toward building the capacity of the Belize Police Department to better serve the citizens of Belize.”
The Defensive Tactics train-the-trainer course was facilitated by instructors Craig Klukas and Andrew Richmond from the Denver Police Department.
Instructors from the DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, David Dominguez, Tom Ehret, Jarrod Burguan, Russ Shubert, and Carlos Maldonado provided the IDC training.
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