“How to Solve a Murder in Honduras,” a special series from AJS that tells the story of how criminal investigators, lawyers, police officers, psychologists, information analysts, and victims are working together to end violence in Honduras.
THE POLICE OFFICIAL. Chapter 4 of the “How to Solve a Murder in Honduras” Series. AJS’s ultimate goal is to see government systems, including the police force, work well. The Peace and Justice project doesn’t try to do an end run around the National Police, but to accompany them, train them, and help them to do their job better.
“I had many victories in my years with the police – I earned medals and diplomas, and many awards. But I don’t remember a single victim or witness ever thanking me for my work. With Peace and Justice, that has become the most important prize I could receive. I would rather receive the gratitude of one family than all the awards in the world.”
Omar Rivera speaks on the work of the police commission – “We knew that what we were doing was planting a seed that would have incredible fruit – peace and safety for more than eight million people. As we in the Commission and at AJS continue in this work, we hope that people around the world will be encouraged and challenged to get close to the problems in their own environments.”
The approval of the new Organic Law of the National Police is a momentous step in the institutional life of the public security system of the country.
“As you know very well, ASJ is probably the most important civil society organization currently operating here [in Honduras]. It’s an organization that we in the United States embassy and the United States government partner with in many very important ways.”
Since the launch of their “Report Police” campaign in June, 2016, ALAC’s team has received over 525 reports of corruption or abuse by police officers. “This is a very important tool to compile information related to members of the police who are being evaluated by the Commission, but also for those who were already approved,” said Omar Rivera, a member of the Police Reform Commission.
AJS condemns the attack on Thursday evening against Pastor Jorge Machado, member of the board of directors of AJS-Honduras and member of the Special Commission for Police Purging, that resulted in the death of military guard Geovany Calderón.
As of December 14th, 2016, they have evaluated over 2,500 members of the force, including every high-ranking official, and fired 1,678 for corruption or failure to meet institutional standards. Of those fired, 364 were high-ranking officials, including six of the nine police generals.
Yesterday, the Police Purging Commission met with the Attorney General to deliver 144 criminal cases, implicating 455 police officers with crimes ranging from theft to extortion to assassination.