BOPE – Special Forces of the Rio de Janeiro Police

Colombian Government Urges FARC Demobilization for Christmas

Por Dialogo
dezembro 23, 2010

And I say why do they attack? According to what was exposed in the previous note (armament confiscation), additionally the lack of availability of operational knowledge of the urban narco-criminals, regarding their available firearms and tactics, it is contrasted with this BOPE note to sing the praises of these braves skulls, with a tactical-operative deployment quite superior, but which retreated in the capture of their objective (shacks) by the natural obstacles of the geography and/or advance barriers planned by the rebels, and recognizing that the standing forces that need to become unified by a logistical policy, regarding armament and instruction. As is. HELLO: Lord, in peace I ask you what few should ask you, insecurity, sacrifice and pain, to strengthen me, but I ask you to permanently help me to live and if necessary for God, country and family, to die like a soldier!!!!!!! TO DIE LIKE A SOLDIER!!!!!!!! GREETINGS AND STRENGTH, YOU WILL BE WHAT YOU SHOULD BE OR BE NOTHING AT ALL!!!! I WAIT FOR YOU ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL ONE SOLE BROTHER, THANK YOU FOR READING.................WE’LL TALK SOON hello from Argentina, greetings and my regards for all those forming the special group known as BOPE. Many people recognize their sacrifice and others don't, but the ones that don't are a minority or are outlaws. I think that those who take pride in themselves, their country, lives, know that the members of the special forces give everything, even their lives, so that simple coexistence and the peace necessary for living on this planet are respected. I understand the feeling of serving and protecting because I am part of a special group here in my country. Greetings and long live the BOPE. How do you get into BOPE? What are the requirements to join the Special Police Operations Battalion of Rio de Janeiro? I want to know what the requirements are for admittance.. thank you for your collaboration.. To be part of BOPE, you have to be a standard police officer here in Brazil.
And the most important thing of all: The training is among the most difficult and most dangerous in the world, and around 95% of those who start the course are unable to finish.
You will be humiliated all the time and will suffer a lot.
Combat in an urban environment appears as a complex and exhausting tactical scenario. Buildings not only prevent the soldiers from having a clear field of fire and lines of sight, but also provide enemy defenders with multiple safe fire positions. The large number of civilians in the action zone may generate a need for humanitarian aid and limit the troops’ positions and options. In this context, the theater of operations of the city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most complex in the world. In one single location, it has elements of urban, jungle, and mountain combat.

Forming a unit that is ready to carry out missions in these scenarios, that knows how to fight in densely populated areas, against an ill-defined enemy, heavily armed and with the tactical advantage of being higher up, is a challenge. Those who think that a unit with such characteristics was trained to fight in a conventional war are mistaken: it is a police force that operates in one of the largest Brazilian state capitals.

The Special Police Operation Battalion of the Military Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro – BOPE (in Portuguese, “Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais da Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro”) is one of the world’s most experienced police units in urban combat. Since its creation three decades ago, the BOPE has had to develop its own operational doctrine. Even today, there are no military or public-safety manuals to guide the use of such a unit in operations like the ones carried out in the Rio slums.

Dressed in black uniforms, with a skull stamped on their sleeves, the BOPE police officers are the elite of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro – PMERJ (in Portuguese, “Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro”). Their actions have been made famous by the movies, and their style of operation pushes the boundaries that separate public-safety forces from defense forces. The battalion consists of 400 men and is directly linked to the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Police, from whom it receives its missions. It maintains a company permanently on watch, and for incidents involving hostages, the BOPE has a Tactical Intervention Unit, with negotiators, snipers, and a Rescue and Recovery Group.

Specialized in aquatic missions, missions transported by helicopters, missions in jungle and mountain environments, and missions using explosives, the BOPE carries out combat missions on an almost daily basis, taking heavy fire from the drug dealers. The most dangerous movement in an urban offensive is that between positions, when the soldiers are exposed to snipers and to automatic-weapons fire while they are clearly visible among the streets and buildings.

In order to protect the unit in an incursion into a slum, the police officers are supported by “urban snipers,” a solution likewise found by the Brazilian Marines to support the advance of their Amphibian Commands during operations in Haiti. When the soldiers “go up into the slum” and are “greeted by bullets,” it is up to the sniper to identify the source of the shots and to neutralize it, allowing the force to advance in greater safety.

The physical structure of the urban battlefield affects the use of weapons and their calibers, and in the case of Rio de Janeiro, this is an aggravating factor, since an undeclared war is being fought against an internal enemy by a public-safety and paramilitary force. According to their rules of engagement, the state-authorized police cannot respond with the same intensity and firepower that the criminals use. This is due in part to the Army’s veto on the acquisition of higher-caliber weapons, such as .50-caliber, needed to destroy the fortifications built by the bandits. In order to stop the police, the drug dealers have reinforced walls and balconies with concrete, adding loopholes from which to shoot, justifying the need for higher-caliber weapons. The BOPE basically uses 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm caliber rifles in its actions.

The Military Police of Rio de Janeiro has become a model for the effective deployment of an armored vehicle in urban combat in Brazil. The “Big Skull,” as it is known, is a cross-between an armored car and an armored bus. Far from being sufficient, it is the only way to provide security to a unit patrolling volatile areas or during missions to rescue wounded police officers. There is a study underway on the development of a national armored vehicle to be used in public-safety operations and on the acquisition of Israeli, Russian, or South African models. For the BOPE, the use of armored vehicles during combat is far from being ideal, but it is a reality that is here to stay.

In the Rio slums, the drug traffickers have dug ditches and placed concrete obstacles, train tracks, and rocks to stop the “Big Skull” from coming in. Following the example of the operational conditions faced by the UN troops in Haiti, the BOPE has had to incorporate an excavator machine to clear the streets for the armored vehicles: this is combat engineering being used for the first time in police actions in Brazil.

The reality faced by the police in the Rio slums is similar to that faced by NATO troops in Afghanistan. The resistance posed by the Taliban, whose asymmetric war actions are sponsored by the lucrative poppy business, approximates Kabul to Rio de Janeiro. Nowadays, the risks faced by a Western citizen when walking in certain areas of the Afghan capital are the same of those of a police officer or a member of the military in the volatile zones of the capital of Rio de Janeiro state.

For the 2014 World Cup, the BOPE intends to acquire a series of equipment for the detection of explosives and special tactical missions. The battalion hopes to be able to acquire machine guns and to replace some of its worn-out assault rifles.

For the commander of the BOPE, Lt. Col. Paulo Henrique, the unit has an “ongoing process, with the goal of upgrading part of its allocated weapons. We seek the best equipment, and with regard to standardization, we look for weapons that fulfill specific operational objectives, and, given the missions of this special unit, we cannot function with only one caliber or only one kind of weapon.”