San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

National Police Force Grows by 280 Officers

Standing in long rows with solemn faces and crisp, navy-blue uniforms, 280 men and women took an oath to become National Police officers Tuesday during a ceremony at the Public Security Ministry.

They helped bring the ministry closer to its goal of adding 4,000 officers by the time President Oscar Arias’ term ends in 2010, said Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal.

The ceremony enlarged Costa Rica’s National Police force to 10,650 officers, the biggest it’s been in “recent history,” he said. Among those who swore in were 43 indigenous citizens, the first to serve as police officers in the country’s history.

Many of them were recruited during the Public Security Ministry’s recent trips to the southern Caribbean Talamanca region.

They’ll use their understanding of indigenous languages and cultures to provide safety in their communities, many of which are in remote areas, said the ministry’s spokeswoman Karla Arrieta.

Other new officers signed on during a nationwide recruitment campaign carried out in September and October of last year, Berrocal said.

“We’ve made an effort to recuperate the prestige, the goodness, of being a police officer,” Berrocal said. “This can be a respected and dignified career,” he added, pointing out four ministry veterans who also took oaths Tuesday to step up to leadership roles.

José Fabio Pizarro, former director of the Border Police, became National Police Director.

His new Assistant Directors are Rigoberto Rodríguez and Daniel Calderón. Also, Eliseo Uba took over as Director of the NationalPoliceAcademy, and Félix Lizano will serve as his Assistant Director.


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