May 25, 2016
In just 40 days of service, the Special Commission for the Purging and Transformation of the Police Force has made dramatic advances towards ridding the National Police force of its “bad apples”.
On April 11th, Honduras’ president appointed AJS’s Omar Rivera to the Special Commission, alongside Alberto Solórzano, an AJS board member and president of a coalition of 1,500 evangelical churches, and Vilma Morales, a former member of the Supreme Court. AJS president Carlos Hernández is also participating as a nonvoting member.
After only ten days, the Commission reported their first round of firings – five of the nine Police Generals were removed from their positions. One week later, the Commission announced the removal of 27 of the 47 Police Commissioners.
Last week, the Commission announced the latest round of purging – 36 Sub-Commissioners would be removed, bringing the total to 68 officers. In the weeks and months to come, the Commission will continue down through levels of authority, revising case by case the merit and honesty of the remaining 14,000 officers.
The Special Commission has made it a specific priority to reform the police force, “from the top, down”, as opposed to previous efforts which removed only a few low-ranking officers. In previous efforts to clean up the police force, Generals, Commissioners, and Sub-Commissioners had never been touched.
This work is delicate and dangerous. The removal of so many officers puts members of the Commission at a real risk. Many of the men fired have powerful political connections or links to drug traffickers. In the face of enormous pressure, the Commission has bravely stood firm in their commitment to a police force that is trustworthy and effective. In this moment of transformation, there is real hope that soon the police force will be an entity that helps, not hurts, Honduran citizens – one that they can trust.
AJS needs your support in this crucial time of transformation! Look out for more communications about how you can help by giving, praying, or advocating for transparent police reform in Honduras.