U.S. government gifts AFIS terminals to Belize

By on December 5, 2017
AFIS being tested

AFIS being tested

Belmopan, CAYO. Tuesday, December 5, 2017. The United States government has gifted the Belize Police Department with a suite of Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) terminals.

The transfer of the 14 terminals, valued at US$430,000, to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police Department was held in Belmopan on Monday.

The donation was handed over by Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy Adrienne Galanek, while Minister of Home Affairs Elodio Aragon, Jr. signed the official transfer documents at Police Headquarters.

According to an official press statement, the U.S. Embassy official noted at the handing over that the donation is intended to show the “Embassy’s dedication to assist the Government of Belize to increase its forensic capacity, decrease impunity, improve the justice system, and make Belize safer for all.”

Transfer documents being signed

Transfer documents being signed

For his part, Minister Aragon noted that the gift of the AFIS system will greatly upgrade and expand the capabilities of the Police Department and is a “milestone for the Belize Police Department and the people of this country.”

Monday’s donation, according to Minister Aragon, gives the Police Department a significantly expanded forensic tool-set to investigate and ultimately prosecute crime.

A government press release notes that GOB first invested in the AFIS in 2001 and that these additional terminals, including an associated server, allows for a truly national AFIS program in Belize.

The United States government has provided training for police officers, Scenes of Crime technicians, and Police Academy instructors, who will be responsible for further training.

Personnel can now conduct automated fingerprint searches against the central database, store electronic images, and electronically exchange fingerprints and responses at any time of day, 365 days a year.

Since 2008, the United States government has contributed over US$42 million to advance citizen security, economic prosperity, and good governance in Belize through the Central America Regional Security Initiative, known by the acronym CARSI.

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