Over a hundred officers are currently off the streets after 61 tested positive for Covid-19 and the remaining forty officers are in quarantine as a precautionary measure. Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, stated that while this is a concern for the department, it is difficult for officers to stay safe when their work requires them to interact with persons from all corners of the country. According to him, sometimes even the PPE’s are not enough.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Police officers on a daily basis we have to interact with people. We conduct house searches, we conduct vehicle searches, we conduct person searches, we have to arrest people and those are activities that really and truly bring us in direct contact with individuals many of whom we do not know what their status are. So it really and truly puts us at risk and even though yes we try our utmost best to ensure that officers wear their PPE at times the PPE do not serve the purpose the way we would expect it to and that’s why I’ve always been saying that really and truly the police we are the front line people. Whenever the health professionals come in contact with individuals they already have a basic idea as to the person’s status but for us we don’t and even when we have instances of people calling that they’re neighbor is infected and their neighbor is moving all around all over the place police again have to move in and arrest or detain those persons who are infected and try to get them into some location of isolation. Just over the past two weeks we had to change our personnel from along the Santa Cruz/San Victor Douglas area those who are involved in the contraband hotspots because many of them were infected with the virus as well. So we continue to do what we can with a view to minimize the amount of officers who are infected and at the same time we try to care for those who are infected.”
To date, the police department has had 88 confirmed cases of covid-19. The Belize Police Officers are not the only ones plagued with Covid-19. In the Belize Defence Force over one hundred and forty soldiers are in quarantine, sixty-five of them are possibly positive and eighty-nine of them are from a battalion in the Orange Walk District. According to spokesperson for the BDF Lieutenant Brandon Garcia, the number of infections within the force has not deterred them from performing their duties.