On April 12, 2018, the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) kicked off a course for 130 officers from the 14th Military Police Battalion (BPM, in Portuguese) of Bangu at the East Training Center in the Military Village of Deodoro, a neighborhood in northern Rio de Janeiro. All officers of the 14th BPM will participate in the Tactical Applications Internship—so will police officers in the state of Rio de Janeiro. EB Colonel Roberto Itamar, spokesperson for the Federal Intervention Office, said training also takes place at the Army’s Central Munitions Depot in the municipality of Paracambi, an hour from Rio de Janeiro.
“Every week, 130 police officers undergo this training, which lasts 40 hours,” Col. Itamar said. “The Bangu Battalion went first because the unit works on an ongoing federal intervention pilot project in its area of responsibility in Vila Kennedy.”
Vila Kennedy is a Rio neighborhood where the Federal Intervention Office first took action. The interventions began July 2017 after Brazilian President Michel Temer signed the Guarantee of Law and Order decree, authorizing service members to engage in police activities for a limited period of time, such as when traditional public safety forces have been exhausted and during serious civil unrest. Military intervention for Rio’s safety is scheduled to last until December.
The objective of the course is to help the Military Police (PM, in Portuguese) guarantee a higher safety level for civilians and police during confrontations in Rio de Janeiro’s conflict zones. The priority is to select police officers from areas where EB currently operates so that PM can continue to keep the area secure upon service members’ departure at the end of the intervention.
“Military police officers receive training on firearm maintenance, assembly and disassembly, target practice [pistols and rifles], and operations in a hostile environment from Brazilian Army instructors and the Military Police Special Operations Command,” Col. Itamar said. “Training includes protection against firearm threats, safe and coordinated movements in a group, and identification of real threats.”
EB’s realistic training uses sophisticated equipment, such as tactical engagement simulation devices. The equipment and weapons used during the course have built-in receivers and laser emitters that signal when an officer has been hit and how serious the injury is.
Strengthening PM throughout Brazil
On May 2nd, soon after the launch of the Tactical Applications Internship, the federal government announced the National Plan to Strengthen and Support the Military Police of the ministries of Defense and Public Safety. The partnership calls for EB to provide Brazil’s PM with support, such as staffing, training, equipment, planning instruments, and intelligence.
According to the Ministry of Defense’s Public Affairs Office, police officers from several Brazilian states will take part in the training based on the criteria of each state. PM will undergo a training process considered essential to ensure high levels of quality in the services rendered by defense and public safety personnel. “The knowledge the Army gained in recent years further reinforces Brazil’s participation in a wide range of United Nations peacekeeping missions. We’ll be able to contribute significantly to training with a better appreciation for these professionals. They put their lives on the line for us every day to ensure public safety in our cities,” said Army General Joaquim Silva e Luna, Brazil’s Minister of Defense.
The Inspectorate General of the Military Police and the Military Fire Brigade (IGPM, in Portuguese), an EB body that coordinates and monitors PM and military firefighters for more than 50 years, will manage the partnership. The goal is to increase IGPM’s involvement in training and enhancing police actions, sharing personnel and material resources on a temporary, emergency basis. The first step for IGPM is to conduct a study to identify the needs of every PM in the country.
During the launch ceremony, Minister of Public Safety Raul Jungmann noted that each security institution will continue to have its own maintenance and investment obligations, while counting on support from EB, primarily for intelligence and planning. “This agreement brings the Brazilian Army, its resources, its staff, its expertise, and its facilities in line with Brazil’s military police. This not only represents an extraordinary effort to improve our military police capabilities, but also raises the bar in the fight against organized crime and strengthens public safety,” Jungmann said.
The initial investment is $1.4 million. The recommendation is for funding to be used first and foremost for training. An $11.5 billion line of credit will also be available from the National Development Bank to restructure PM over a five-year period.