Monday, July 15, 2024

Completion of barracks to alleviate inadequate police housing


After two years of off-and-on construction, phase two of the San Pedro Police Department’s (SPPD) barracks is near completion. The two-story wooden building features three divisions; upstairs will have a total of three separate bedrooms to accommodate three additional officers and downstairs will be divided into two sections. The completion of this building is eagerly anticipated by the SPPD. Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit, Superintendent Sandra Bowden, is relieved that the process is almost done. “It has been completed for the most part. They are just putting on the final touches. Hopefully by the end of the month, we can have the official handing over,” said Bowden.Police Barracks Phase Two Almost Complete-1
The issue of inadequate housing and space has been ongoing, even leading to some relocation of officers. According to Bowden, the office space for the DVU (domestic/family violence unit) inside the police department is not adequate. However, the good news is that the DVU will be transferred to the new barracks. The ground floor of the barracks will be divided in half, with one section to provide office space for the DVU unit, and the other half as a drop-in center. The drop-in center will be geared towards students and the public, offering resources like internet access that could help with schoolwork.
Both Deputy Coastal Executive Officer Jemmott and Bowden indicated that some of the buildings in which officers are currently living are truly sub-standard. Despite numerous complaints about structural issues, leaky roofs, electricity and water outages, and poor plumbing, the rental contract on the subpar buildings were recently renewed at $3,600 a month.Police Barracks Phase Two Almost Complete-2
Limited space and resources are some of the biggest challenges the department faces on a daily basis on Ambergris Caye. Due to the lack of space, housing is not available to place much-needed additional officers. The San Pedro Police Department hopes that long-term changes and upgrades can be made by the Commissioner in Charge to ensure proper living spaces for the island’s officers.Police Barracks Phase Two Almost Complete-3
“The government needs to ensure that the island housing is up to standard so our police officers can live comfortably here,” ended Bowden. Upon the completion of the new barracks building, three more officers will have proper housing while serving on Ambergris Caye.

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