Humala Picks Surprise Candidate for Peru Police Chief

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President Ollanta Humala selected a little-known Lima police chief to head Peru’s National Police, amid a wave of shake-ups of the country’s security forces.

After several months of evaluation, Humala nominated Lieutenant General Raul Salazar to act as Peru’s new police director. Salazar was selected over several prominent candidates, including the head of Peru’s anti-narcotics office and a former intelligence director.

Salazar previously served as head of security at the presidential palace, and until the announcement, was the acting police chief in a southern section of Peru’s capital. The reshuffling of police leadership follows other personnel changes pushed by Humala, in which political outsiders were placed in key positions related to security and drug policy.

Salazar replaces outgoing General Raul Becerra, who is among 30 top-ranking police officials being forced to retire. The obligatory retirements leave fewer than 15 high-ranking generals with active law enforcement roles in the National Police service and will move less experienced colonels into leadership positions.

In announcing the reorganization, Humala emphasized that the changes were not punitive. However, several members of the police high command that are being retired are facing corruption allegations, and their removal will clear the way for disciplinary hearings into their behavior.

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