Officers at the San Pedro Police Department test positive for COVID-19; routine policing continues
Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
The San Pedro Police Formation has fourteen of its officers off duty after five tested positive for COVID-19, and another nine recently presented flu-like symptoms. Officer in Charge, Superintendent Christopher Noble says the officers have been quarantined, while the rest of the formation continue the routine policing of the island.
Noble said that working with 14 police officers less is doable at this moment, however, operations can become difficult if more officers become infected. Noble indicated that two of the five infected officers COVID-19 are on the mainland, while the rest remain on the island. The sick officers are being monitored to make sure they are fed and not too stressed out. “Somebody is assigned to make sure they have their meals, and they all have direct access to me. I am not trained in counseling, but I offer what I can,” said Noble. The officers are believed to have been infected by becoming in contact with persons while off-duty.
About Police Constable Manuel Caliz’ Facebook post
PC Manuel Caliz made a Facebook post in which he alleged ill-treatment in San Pedro Town, claiming that no one cares about frontline officers. According to Noble, he does not understand why Manuel Caliz made such a post. Caliz was reportedly out with friends who have tested positive for the COVID-19, including police officers that are now symptomatic. Caliz is now in isolation and according to Noble, he is having difficulties with what seems to be personal issues.
The SPPD plan during this pandemic
According to Noble, the police station has increased its safety measures and is now sanitized around three times a day. Anyone visiting the station must wash their hands at a sink installed outside the police station.
At the door, an officer takes the person’s temperature with infrared forehead thermometers before entering. All officers are required to wear their masks in and outside of the station and they must practice social distancing as well.
Currently, San Pedro is the epicentre of COVID-19 in Belize with 62 active cases. The San Pedro Police Formation along with the local health authorities continue to ask islanders to practise good hygiene, practice social distancing and wear masks. The police and health department also ask everyone to do their part in the battle against one of the lesser visible symptoms – stigmatization and affected mental health – and to please be supportive of those who are affected with COVID-19.
Home burglaries on the rise?
OIC Noble was asked about online reports of burglaries across San Pedro, and he simply said that a follow-up would occur once incidents are reported.
According to the victims however, they have reported these incidents to the police. They took to social media sharing their experiences. One individual shared some pictures showing attempted forced entry. Another indicated that a laptop and a few other valuable items had been taken from their home while they slept. At press time, information forthcoming is that the Central Intelligence Branch on the island is investigating.
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