by Charles Gladden
BELMOPAN, Wed. Sept. 14, 2022
On Tuesday, September 13, a total of 296 police officers received awards of recognition at a ceremony held by the Belize Police Department at the National Police Training Academy in Belmopan.
There were several award categories, including a medal that was given to officers who have served over 18 years in the department without committing any serious disciplinary infraction. A total of 175 officers received that medal. Additionally, 72 officers received first clasp medals and 24 received second clasp medals for completing 25 and 30 years of service, respectively, and 19 officers were honored with the meritorious service award and 6 with distin-guished service award for carrying out their duties in an outstanding way within the society.
In addition to the police officers who received awards, over 50 civilians were also awarded for training and assisting the police within the community.
A moment of silence was also observed for those officers who would have been award recipients but had passed away. An officer who would have been awarded at Tuesday’s ceremony is Superintendent Henry Jemmott, who would have served 25 years in the department. (Jemmott was fatally shot while sitting on a pier with Jasmine Hartin, ex-partner of Andrew Ashcroft, in May 2021.)
“It’s a time for us to also recognize and give thanks to those fallen officers. Certainly, their service did count prior to their passing. And it was only fitting that we took a moment of silence in their honor as well as in honor of the Queen who passed away last week. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the family of those fallen officers for having loaned them to us during the time that they were with us for the exemplary work that they did. And certainly yes, Mister Jemmott, had he been alive, he would have been one of the awardees as well today,” said the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams.
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams noted at the ceremony that such awards serve as a morale-booster. “… We made sure that we did the due diligence, that we awarded those who are entitled. Again, there is a lot that needs to be done to ensure that the officers meet the requirements of the award,” he said.
“We live in a society where the negative is always given credence over the positive. I’ve always said to my officers that to every bad a policeman would normally do, there are hundreds of good that other police officers are doing. But the good that we do is never highlighted, only the bad that we do, and it was with that spirit that I said to the PR office that there is a need for us to be more aggressive in selling the good that police do. And I would wish that the media would help in that respect, the same way you are always quick to highlight the bad, which we have no issue with, we’d also be happy if you can also highlight the good that we do,” Williams further said.