Plan for Retraining of Honduran Police

The Security Ministry launched a comprehensive plan for re-training some 14,000 police officers, according to the director of the Institute of Police Technology (ITP), Commissioner César Augusto Mendoza.

The initiative is promoted strongly by the Security Minister, Oscar Álvarez, the Director General of the Police, Commissioner José Luis Muñoz Licona, and the rector of the Police Education System, Commissioner Mario Leonel Zepada Espinoza, said Mendoza.

It also has the support of the Ministry of Education under an agreement signed with the Ministry of Security. This will help those enrolled in primary education to continue until at least the ninth grade, or otherwise finish high school, in any discipline of police science, said Mendoza.

The director of the ITP reported that those enrolled in March whose training would be concluded in early December, will be the first 500 elite special services staff trained in prevention, criminal investigation, special issues and transit. He stressed that most of this group are teachers, graduates and business experts highly educated by the institution in police techniques.

He said that for next year, starting in January 2011, the ITP has already received over 1,400 applications from candidates with an educational background, but only the top 500 will be chosen to follow the curricula.

The new line is eminently civilian police with emphasis on respect for human rights.

As minimum requirements, said the police chief, applicants must submit their title for Education Media or Certificate from ninth grade, identity card, proof of criminal and police clearance, in addition to testing for drugs, HIV and Chagas disease. Between the group applying, and the graduating class, there are recorded 69 females.

Mendoza said the course will last six to eight months, and during their stay, the student will receive a pension of two thousand lempiras from the government. Upon graduation, they will join the National Police with a minimum wage, plus all the benefits of any public employee (social security, vacations, bonuses, life insurance, etc.) “More than a salary, the most important thing that the police will have is the immense satisfaction of protecting the weak, for me that is the most satisfying,” said Mendoza.

In the case of service agents that will be submitted to the “recycling”, the courses will begin next year with groups of 300 agents to complete the ultimate goal.

Training for both new, and for serving officers, includes courses in basic English, according to branch, and a complete training in handling “civilians”, i.e. respect for human rights under the motto “to serve, protect, and ultimately suppress, but with the law and not with another crime,” explained the director of ITP, based in the city of La Paz.

Mendoza believes that society will feel the changes in the police because the project is complemented by plans for the upper ranks of the University of the National Police of Honduras (UNPH) (graduate), National Police Academy (ANAP) (undergraduate) and the NCO School of Honduras, who graduate to assist the head administrative officers.

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