Members of the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police voted unanimously to admit the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) as a member agency. The vote took place after Superintendent Hector Pesquera of the PRPD made a presentation to the assembled members at the S&P Annual Meeting on Saturday, September 29, 2012 in San Diego, CA. The PRPD, at its 17,000 agents, joins the 49 state and highway patrol agencies in the United States and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, and the Surete du Quebec as member agencies of the S&P Division.
Below is a press release from the PRPD:
SAN JUAN, P.R. – The Puerto Rico Police Department has for the first time in history been awarded membership into the International Association of Chiefs of Police, joining the ranks of the world’s largest professional law enforcement organization, announced Puerto Rico Police Superintendent Hector M. Pesquera.
In September, IACP officials visited Puerto Rico to evaluate the internal and operational performance of the Puerto Rico Police and determine if the Department met the professional standards for membership. The decision to award membership to the Puerto Rico Police was determined by IACP’s State and Provincial Police Committee and general membership during the organization’s annual meeting held Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in San Diego, California.
“The Government of Puerto Rico has been taking decisive action to transform the Puerto Rico Police into one of the most modern and professional law enforcement organizations in America. IACP’s decision to award our Department membership acknowledges our progress and honors the professionalism of those serving in the Puerto Rico Police,” said Superintendent Pesquera, underscoring that IACP is the world’s largest law enforcement association with over 20,000 law enforcement chief executives in 100 regions around the globe.
Leading the IACP evaluation trip to Puerto Rico was Chief John Batiste of the Washington State Patrol, who is the General Chair of the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police. “We wanted to meet with Superintendent Pesquera and let him know that we as agency heads from the 49 state police and highway patrol agencies in the United States, along with our Canadian colleagues, stand with him and the Puerto Rico Police Department as they work to keep their citizens – and their officers – safe from violence.”
Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño and his Administration have made public safety, police professionalization, and combating crime a top priority. Following a 27-year career with the FBI and senior law enforcement positions in South Florida, Mr. Pesquera was appointed Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police – at over 17,000 officers, the second largest police force in the country — to help implement a comprehensive reform plan to bolster the professionalization of the police department and ensure officers have the latest and best training to better protect the public.
The effort is focused on combating crime and strengthening collaboration between the police, local communities, and the federal government. Progress includes new training partnerships, new equipment, higher officer salaries, access to modern technology, a reorganization of police territories, and a tangible reduction in crime, Superintendent Pesquera said.