In times of disasters and emergencies, more than at any other, the Belize Police Department is a key tool to steady the populace. Of course, police officers are humans too, and their jobs are not without doubts and anxieties. Today, 45 staff members of the Police Communications Control Room were trained in emergency disaster response. With more here is Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood.
“Our personnel from our control room or emergency center for the police department have decided to cooperate along with CEMO members from the meteorological service, the Belize Red Cross and of course, and also a psychological nurse coming in to help to sensitize our people in case of emergency or disaster. We face emergencies, but in the events, we face those hurry-fix-storms, what they should and what they shouldn’t do, and how to do our dispatching adequately adjust to generalize everything and coordinate all the necessary aspects to a study that, in the event these disasters come around, we know exactly what to do and who to call, rely on or put in place”.
Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood: “First of all, the first presenter was Mr. Wayne Usher from CEMO. He has helped us a lot o get our EOC more organized, meaning that he has enlightened to us things that we have and things that we need in the event that we need to be at our EOC for a period of more than 48 hours in order for us to be prepared to have our people work in stress management. Also, later on, in this workshop, we will have our professional nurse that will teach them how to deal with that”.
This session is the first of several planned for the Communication division of the Department.
While looking in on today’s training we got the opportunity to find out more about the goings-on in the Control Room. Eaton Williams, the Police Acting Communications Manager, tells us about how the system works with the introduction of the precinct system to Belize City last year.
“Not exactly; with the new present system we basically we cooperate the same with the police officers. For some reasons, precincts have the city divided equally at the communication center and we have our maps that we could know how the city is divided and how to dispatch our resources equally”.
But according to senior officer Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, prank calls and abuse from children and some unthinking adults continues to be a problem. He tells us why it’s not a good idea to prank call the Police.
Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood: “One of our biggest battles- the prank calls on the 911 service, and these children (We have adults that do it too) keep calling abusing our technicians or operators and what we try to get out to the public is that the time they spend wasting on 911 calls, an actual emergency could have been dealt with, for example a life threatening situation of their own relatives could have been saved if they would have not been playing on the telephone line. So, we try to equip our people to be most professional at all times when answering the 911 calls”.