Saturday, June 7, 2014

Puerto Rico: Governor García Padilla Names "Adviser" to Reform PRPD

According to The Latin American Tribune, Governor Alejandro García Padilla on Thursday (June 5) announced the appointment of retired US Army Col. Arnaldo Claudio as the new adviser to undertake a reform of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).

The governor said that the naming of Claudio, confirmed by federal Judge Gustavo Gelpi, was agreed to with Puerto Rican authorities and the US Department of Justice.

Claudio replaces Juan Mattos, who in February 2014 resigned after less than four months in the post.

COMMENT: It is interesting to point out that Colonel Claudio was not appointed as Superintendent of the PRPD, but rather as an "adviser," in the hope that Colonel Claudio will eventually become superintendent.

Sadly, the Commonwealth has had a serious problem in retaining superintendents of Police for the PRPD.

Since July 2011, Puerto Rico has had seven superintendents come and go with very short periods of tenure:

1.  José Luís Rivera
2. Emilio Díaz Colón
3. Hector Pesquera
4. James Tuller
5. Juan Rodríguez
6. José Caldero
7. Juan Mattos

The US Department of Justice sued the PRPD in 2012, citing a continuous pattern of civil rights violations, a high level of corruption and deficient training.

The suit was dropped last year after the Department and the PRPD came to agreement on a pact to reform the troubled force.

“Col. Claudio has a distinguished service for which we can be very proud. He’s a Puerto Rican who in 33 years went from graduating from the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) to coordinating security at the inauguration of the President Barack Obama in his second term,” García Padilla said.

Colonel Claudio has also advised the governments of Colombia, Perú and Bolivia in combating drug trafficking and terrorism.