Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández

The president of Honduras has announced that a reform commission designed to purge the country's police forces will continue its work until 2018, a move that could strengthen his bid for re-election.

"Our goal is to consolidate the process of purging [the police], because it is still incomplete," Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández stated in a January 23 press conference.

The president said that the mandate of the Special Commission for the Purging and Transformation of the National Police (Comisión Especial para el Proceso de Depuración y Transformación de la Policía Nacional) will continue until January 20, 2018, reported La Prensa.

The commission began to operate in April 2016 after reports were published indicating that some high-ranking police officials had been involved in the planning and execution of the 2009 assassination of Honduras' drug czar.

The reform has thus far led to the firing of 2,500 police officers, which amounts to almost 18 percent of the entire police force. Twenty-eight percent of the agents who were fired held high-ranking positions, reported El Tiempo.

The president also announced that the certification process for new police recruits is already under way, and that the new public security forces will have to abide by international standards.

"From now on, the police will have to be constantly evaluated," Hernández stated. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Honduras' latest police reform has been much more successful than previous attempts in evaluating, investigating and dismissing police officers, including some from the highest ranks. But the decision to extend the commission's mandate is taken at critical point for President Hernández's political future. Hernández has managed to muster enough political support to modify the electoral law and run once more for election, despite constitutional obstacles.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

One of the pillars of Hernández's campaign has been to convince the public that his administration holds a positive security record. The president, for example, stated in the press conference mentioned above that the homicide rate has decreased by 20 percent. Last week, he also signed a law supported by the Organization of American States (OAS) that aims to ensure "that no political party receives money from organized crime." And it now seems that the president intends to take credit for the police reform commission's positive results.

But as InSight Crime previously pointed out, the objective set by Honduran authorities to replace the dismissed officers and double the size of the police force by 2022 -- a measure that demands the evaluation and training of 12,000 additional officers -- will be difficult to achieve given the limited resources and persistent corruption plaguing state institutions.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...