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Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas

Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas

John Bailey
Lucía Dammert
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas
    Book Description:

    The events of September 11, 2001, combined with a pattern of increased crime and violence in the 1980s and mid-1990s in the Americas, has crystallized the need to reform government policies and police procedures to combat these threats. Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas examines the problems of security and how they are addressed in Latin America and the United States. Bailey and Dammert detail the wide variation in police tactics and efforts by individual nations to assess their effectiveness and ethical accountability. Policies on this issue can take the form of authoritarianism, which threatens the democratic process itself, or can, instead, work to "demilitarize" the police force. Bailey and Dammert argue that although attempts to apply generic models such as the successful "zero tolerance" created in the United States to the emerging democracies of Latin America-where institutional and economic instabilities exist-may be inappropriate, it is both possible and profitable to consider these issues from a common framework across national boundaries. Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas lays the foundation for a greater understanding of policies between nations by examining their successes and failures and opens a dialogue about the common goal of public security.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7294-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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    (pp. vii-viii)
  2. 1 Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas
    (pp. 1-23)
    John Bailey and Lucía Dammert

    Insecurity is a powerful force in private life and in politics, and fear and apprehension about crime and violence are driving change throughout the hemisphere. With few exceptions, the general pattern in the Americas was a significant increase in crime and violence in the mid-1980s and again in the mid-1990s. This pattern appeared on a global scale as well, for reasons that are not entirely clear. These trends clearly burdened the economies and societies of the affected countries. They complicated democratic governability as well, although we lack systematic, comparative studies (Bailey and Godson, 2000). The main exception to these trends...

  3. 2 Brazil’s Public-Security Plans
    (pp. 24-43)
    Emilio Enrique Dellasoppa and Zoraia Saint’Clair Branco

    In 1995 General Nilton Cerqueira, then secretary of public security for Rio de Janeiro, entrusted the task of cleaning up the police force to Hélio Tavares Luz, at that time a candidate for chief of the Civil Police. This dialogue was recorded in May:

    Luz: “General, there is a lot of corruption out there, and I cannot promise you that I’m going to show up and the kidnappings will immediately stop. Even police officers are implicated.”

    Cerqueira: “I’m not going to demand short-term results. I only want you to contain the corruption and keep the police department under control. Afterwards,...

  4. 3 Public-Private Partnerships for Police Reform in Brazil
    (pp. 44-57)
    Paulo de Mesquita Neto

    Since the transition from authoritarianism to democracy in the 1980s, police reform has been high on Brazil’s political agenda. Initially, the main objective of police reform was to improve police integrity and legitimacy, compromised after years of authoritarian rule. Reform aimed at reducing corruption, violence, and discrimination in police organizations and rendering the police more accountable to the law, more respectful of human rights, more responsive and transparent to the citizens. In a word, the objective was to make the police more democratic (Bayley 2001).

    This remains an important objective of police reform. However, because of the dramatic growth of...

  5. 4 From Public Security to Citizen Security in Chile
    (pp. 58-74)
    Lucía Dammert

    In Chile, as in many other Latin American countries, security policies have undergone significant redefinition. Thus, these policies have moved from a perspective centered on the criminal-justice system (the police and the judiciary) as a unique actor in the design and implementation of security policy toward a conceptualization that is beginning to include the citizenry.

    Particularly in the 1990s, a noticeable increase in reported crime, the use of violence in resolving personal conflicts, and a strong sense of insecurity among the population made it appear that the government was having difficulty confronting these issues by means of traditional methods of...

  6. 5 The Institutional Identity of the Carabineros de Chile
    (pp. 75-93)
    Azun Candina

    The fifth stanza of the anthem of the Chilean Carabineros (Chile’s national police force) goes:

    Sleep peacefully, innocent little girl

    Don’t let the brigand worry you.

    As you smile sweetly in slumber,

    A loving Carabinero watches over you.

    The child sleeps peacefully, unafraid of outlaws, while the Carabinero, feeling special affection for her, stands guard. That is the purpose of the police. The watchful Carabinero/sleeping innocent relationship is not the only one in the anthem. There is also the response to evil and outlaws:

    If evil stalks the peaceful nest

    Where innocence took shelter,

    Let us, the protectors of the...

  7. 6 Armed Conflict and Public Security in Colombia
    (pp. 94-110)
    Gonzalo de Francisco Z.

    In recent decades, Colombia’s national police force has evolved in response to challenges specific to that Latin American nation. The struggle against drug trafficking, its special role within the country’s armed conflict, and the quest for citizen security—all framed in a society with a strong democratic foundation—have shaped the current characteristics of an institution that has won the respect of most Colombians.¹ It is not a question of whether the national police force has taken an inappropriate role in the fight against drug trafficking, the guerrillas, and the paramilitaries. This is the reality that Colombian society and the...

  8. 7 Demilitarization in a War Zone
    (pp. 111-131)
    María Victoria Llorente

    The current debate on public security in Colombia does not address police reform in the terms originally posed more than a decade ago. A process of institutional change began in 1993 with an effort to demilitarize and democratize the police based on principles found elsewhere in Latin America and community-policing concepts in vogue internationally. Nevertheless, possibilities for reform have been limited. A principal obstacle has undoubtedly been Colombia’s domestic conflict, which has kept the government and its police force under continual tension, particularly in regard to restoring law and order in the country while addressing the general public’s demand for...

  9. 8 Security Policies in El Salvador, 1992–2002
    (pp. 132-147)
    Edgardo Alberto Amaya

    Security is one of the most sensitive subjects in El Salvadoran political and social history. The founding and consolidation of the Salvadoran state was characterized by the systematic use of state force as an instrument to discipline, dominate, and control the population and, especially, to contain societal conflict (Alvarenga 1996). The instrumental use of security agencies provoked societal resistance of varying intensities. The strongest of these took the form of an armed rebellion that challenged the government during a twelve-year civil war (1980–1992).

    On January 16, 1992, the government of El Salvador and the combatant Frente Farabundo Martí para...

  10. 9 Violence, Citizen Insecurity, and Elite Maneuvering in El Salvador
    (pp. 148-168)
    José Miguel Cruz

    Police reform in El Salvador came as part of a broader package of institutional reforms that accompanied the peace accords of January 1992 that ended the twelve-year civil war. The changes in public security brought new principles and procedures to police institutions; they also signified the dismantling of the old public-security apparatus, namely, the Policía Nacional (National Police), the Guardia Nacional (National Guard) and the Policía de Hacienda (Treasury Police). At the same time, the PNC was created, with a fundamental purpose of centralizing all policing functions under civilian command instead of under the military, as was the past practice....

  11. 10 Public Security and Police Reform in Mexico
    (pp. 169-186)
    Marcos Pablo Moloeznik

    Article 21 of the Mexican constitution (2002) states that “public security is a duty of the Federal Government, the Federal District, the states, and the municipalities, in their respective jurisdictions as established by the Constitution.” This involves overlapping jurisdictions shared by three levels of government, which, for law enforcement, implies a decentralized model. The implementing legislation treats public security as “a duty of the government, which has as its goals to safeguard the integrity and rights of individuals, as well as to preserve public liberty, order, and peace” (Ley General de Seguridad Pública 1995, art. 3). Mexico’s current president, Vicente...

  12. 11 Local Responses to Public Insecurity in Mexico
    (pp. 187-204)
    Allison M. Rowland

    Mexico, like the rest of Latin America, has been hit hard since the mid-1990s by a rise in crime and violence, and government measures designed to slow this trend have been largely ineffective. Much of the analysis of the public-security problem in Mexico has centered on large cities, which have suffered the greatest impact of the crime wave in numbers of victims and monetary losses. However, rural areas throughout the country also have been affected by armed banditry, smuggling (particularly drugs and arms), and violence, often with the complicity of police forces and the military. This rural violence is an...

  13. 12 From Law and Order to Homeland Security in the United States
    (pp. 205-224)
    John Bailey

    Homeland security in the United States is being shaped in its early years by two conflicting national projects. On the one hand, over the course of two centuries the United States developed strong ideological and institutional foundations for individual liberties and democratic practices. On the other hand, more than sixty years of defense mobilization in World War II and the Cold War led to a heightened awareness of national-security threats originating almost entirely from abroad and to a global commitment to anti-Soviet containment. In a context in which internal subversion was relatively unimportant, the protection of democracy and individual liberties...

  14. 13 Police-Community Conflict and Crime Prevention in Cincinnati, Ohio
    (pp. 225-244)
    John E. Eck and Jay Rothman

    In Cincinnati City Hall on April 12, 2002, a historic agreement was signed in the presence of the attorney general of the United States. The signatories were the mayor of Cincinnati, the president of the local police union, the head of the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the president of the Cincinnati Black United Front. This unprecedented agreement simultaneously encapsulated the goals of the citizens of Cincinnati and the most advanced social-science research on police effectiveness. Most important, it called for a complete revision of policing strategy in Cincinnati that could simultaneously reduce crime and situations...

  15. 14 Assessing Responses to Public Insecurity in the Americas
    (pp. 245-262)
    John Bailey and Lucía Dammert

    The contributions to this volume explore the common theme of heightened concerns about the various challenges to public security in the hemisphere, and they analyze the ways in which governments and civil society in the region are attempting to respond. Police reform is a priority throughout the region. The case studies here offer insights that can help assess which responses are more useful and which are less so and the reasons for success or failure.

    The case studies, drawn from various national and local contexts, show us broadly similar sets of problems and policy initiatives, with two exceptions. The Colombian...