San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

National Police kick off tourist security campaign

Extra cops will be on land, at sea and even in the air keeping an eye on tourist hotspots this year just in time for Costa Rica’s biggest party.

President Laura Chinchilla traveled to scenic Playas del Coco over the weekend to kick off her administration’s public security campaign for the 2014 tourist high season.

National Police Director General Juan José Andrade said that law enforcement would mobilize 2,000 officers across the country with an emphasis on tourist areas.

The additional police officers will be stationed at beaches, mountainous areas, national parks and at major highway intersections during the peak tourism season, which lasts from December through the end of March.

Along with police on foot, Coast Guard boats will patrol coastlines popular with tourists. Air surveillance flights will also take place, Andrade said.

Chinchilla waxed lyrical about her time as public security minister during the event, highlighting her own efforts to improve the professionalism of the police force.

“That was the time I remember we started the Tourist Police program, when we started to see tourism as something that should be protected, not just international tourism but local as well,” Chinchilla said.

Some 650 officers will be out in force for Costa Rica’s biggest party in Palmares starting Wednesday, Jan. 15, according to a statement from the National Police.

Some 2 million tourists visit Costa Rica every year, according to estimates from the Costa Rican Tourism Board.

“Security is and continues to be a priority for this administration because the country needs peace and tranquility to develop. That’s why we’re announcing these operations here today to guarantee a safe summer for [Costa Ricans] as well as foreign tourists, because everyone deserves a safe vacation,” Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said, according to a press statement.

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