SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica -- The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, on Wednesday highlighted the role played by the American Police Community (AMERIPOL) among the police forces of the region to coordinate efforts in the fight against organized crime during the inauguration ceremony in San José, Costa Rica, of the new president of the institution, Commissioner Juan José Andrade.
OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza
"Throughout his six years of fruitful work, this voluntary association of police institutions that is AMERIPOL has grown into an institution of great importance for coordination and capacity building of the police in our hemisphere," said Insulza during his participation Wednesday afternoon in the inauguration ceremony.
During the event, attended by the president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, Insulza recalled that the OAS and AMERIPOL signed in 2011 a cooperation agreement in order to "promote and coordinate initiatives to develop and strengthen the capacity of the institutions responsible for ensuring the safety of the citizens in the states of the Hemisphere."
He said the agreement allowed AMERIPOL to have two representatives in OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, which allows for "better coordination with the police forces of the region."
The head of the OAS said that the hemispheric institution and AMERIPOL share the goal of enhancing and improving the capacity of law enforcement institutions in order to strengthen public security in the region.
"For many years the OAS has warned about the great threat posed by transnational organized crime. This adversary does not recognize borders or nationalities, it coordinates its transnational activities with high efficiency and uses new and increasingly sophisticated technological capabilities," he said.
To be able to successfully confront the gangs of organized transnational crime, he added, the police forces of the region must work with some degree of coordination and above all "be uniform in their capabilities."
Insulza also said the OAS, through the Department of Public Safety, and with the technical support of AMERIPOL, "developed the program of the Inter-American Network for Police Development and Professionalization that aims to reduce asymmetries between our police forces."
In this regard, he said that "a cornerstone of the network is based on police training competency and promoting professional development, that is, police training based on the production of competencies and specific professional skills derived from occupational tasks and basic tasks specific to police groups and specialties, always tending to a dynamic and continuously updated training."
He also emphasized that the police should receive ongoing training to master "the use of technological tools, leveraging the newest knowledge about criminal modalities so that intelligence -- the ability to solve the problems that arise -- is the main weapon for the prevention and investigation of crimes."
In addition, Insulza said the OAS, in compliance with the mandate received from the fourth meeting of ministers responsible for public security in the Americas (MISPA IV) -- which was held in Colombia in late 2013 -- initiated a legal, technical and budgetary analysis to identify and define a path for AMERIPOL to become part of the Inter-American System.
"We hope that, on the basis of this report, the states of the Americas can make an informed decision about the possibilities of changing the legal status of the American Police Community in relation to the Inter-American System," said the secretary general, adding that the report will be delivered to the ministers of public security in the Americas.