Police officers from Belize and El Salvador are currently participating in a Gang Resistance Education and Training, Great program training. The program will equip officers with the necessary skills to effectively reach youths in order to dissuade them from joining gangs instead it will offer positive alternatives for them to engage in their community. Corporal Joshua McKoy of the Police Department said that the training will help the officers to be certified in order to go into the classroom.
Corporal Joshua McKoy – Senior Instructor, GREAT Program: ”Today is actually exam day and what they are doing is they are reviewing what they have learned and basically they are teaching them the transition from being a Police Officer to teaching in the classroom which is a big difference. You know Police Officers; people look at them as being strong, tough but then you have to realize you are dealing with kids so you have to use a different level when it comes to inside of the classroom. There is a practical component to the training, what you will have to do is you will have to model some of the lessons that they have. For example there is a lesson called empathy, you will have to model that, show empathy for others. They have another one which is basically peer pressure which is you know this will help them teach the kids how to deal with that also anger management because a lot of kids have anger. So Police officers have been taught to teach the kids how to deal with anger, how to say no because sometimes they get approached and they don’t know how to say no to the different temptations that are out there especially at this time.”
McKoy added that the training allows for the officers to share their experiences. A total of thirty-eight police officers are participating in the training, twenty-three from Belize and fifteen from El Salvador.