U.S. Support for Costa Rican Police Forces Bears Fruit

By Dialogo
March 02, 2012

As part of the Enduring Friendship Program, the U.S. government has made a valuable contribution of resources to the police forces of the Costa Rican Ministry of the Interior, Police, and Public Safety, in order to strengthen the competencies of their personnel and the capabilities of their equipment and infrastructure.

In 2011 alone, the aid was over 7 million dollars and benefited the National Coast Guard Service, the National Air Guard Service, the Drug Control Police, and the Public Force.

Among the chief contributions are the construction of the new Coast Guard station in Caldera, Puntarenas; the remodeling of three 82-foot vessels; and the contribution of two new 33-foot interceptor vessels, together with two vehicles to transport them and a container of spare parts for a year’s maintenance. These boats, specially designed for pursuit operations, are in operation at the Quepos and Golfito naval stations.

As part of the donated equipment, the National Coast Guard Service has a digital tracking system that provides exact real-time information on the position and route of suspicious vessels detected by planes that fly over national territory as part of the functions assigned in the bilateral treaty on cooperation to suppress illicit trafficking.

These technologically advanced systems and equipment have improved the command and control of police operations, making it possible to plan an appropriate response to environmental and criminal threats, maritime emergencies, and natural disasters in territorial waters.

As a result of joint patrols between the U.S. and Costa Rican Coast Guard services, eight specialized operations by the end of 2011 made it possible to seize more than 1,515 tons of cocaine.

Costa Rica is grateful for this cooperative effort, which aims to support the fight against international drug trafficking by giving police forces the technical capacity to confront this illicit business and providing advanced communications systems for interoperability among those police forces.