Former U.S. Embassy legal specialist Marcela Chacón has been named a vice minister of public security.
Chacón will take over the position from Gerardo Láscarez, who recently tendered his resignation.
The San José native first started working for the U.S. Embassy in 1996 and since 1999 has served as legal specialist for its Office of Defense and as an embassy international law adviser. She worked often with the Public Security Ministry, as well as with the Ministry of the Presidency, during her time with the embassy.
Public Security Minister Janina del Vecchio said Chacón is being tapped specifically for her project coordination and managerial skills. “For over 12 years, Marcela has been managing security and cooperation programs for the U.S. Embassy, and we’re sure she will carry on with this work,” del Vecchio said.
Officials hope Chacón will bring some stability to what have been a few tumultuous months in the ministry under del Vecchio, a former math professor. The move might also help smooth out some recent tense relations between the ministry and the embassy.
Chacón will work alongside the Ana Durán, the ministry’s vice minister of government, and José Torres, who serves as the other vice minister of public security.
Torres took over the post after Rafael Gutiérrez resigned in April, one of many who left when the reins of the ministry were passed to del Vecchio after Fernando Berrocal was abruptly dismissed.
Láscarez, a longtime friend of Berrocal, had publicly mulled retirement before the minister’s dismissal. Tensions between Láscarez and del Vecchio never eased and were among reasons cited in his letter of resignation.
Del Vecchio said Chacón will oversee myriad projects, including intra-family violence, casino regulations, police intelligence, human resources, digitization of the National Police databases, coordination with private security forces and, notably, creating a new national police academy in the prospective NationalTechnicalUniversity.
Chacón will also be responsible for many of the ministry’s international cooperation projects, including ones with the United Nations Development Programme and the Spanish government.
–Holly K. Sonneland