18-year-olds now eligible to serve in PR police force
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced on Thursday the signing of several measures, among which is House Bill 578, through which the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety Law and the Puerto Rico Weapons Law were amended to authorize the entry of any person 18 years of age or older into the Police Bureau.
Current law authorized entry to the police force from the age of 21.
The measure also extends the maximum age of entry into the island police force to 46 years, when it is currently 39 years by regulation, and extends the maximum reentry age up to 50 years.
“Before assuming the position that I hold, I recognized the need to bring more police into our uniformed corps,” the governor said in a written statement. “Puerto Rico has talented and thoughtful people who, from the age of 18, already have the capacity and motivation to enter the Police Department, so we want to provide the tools so that they can do so. This measure will help us increase our police force and allow us to reach the goal of Commissioner Antonio López and this public servant of recruiting about 1,000 officers.”
The statute guarantees that each new member of the Police Bureau has at least an associate’s degree, which he or she can complete within three years from when he or she is sworn in as a cadet (as of July 1, 2021), and allows a Police Bureau agent under the age of 21 to be eligible to apply for a weapons license.
Meanwhile, the governor also gave his signature to Senate Bill, which creates the Puerto Rico Office for the Protection and Defense of People with Disabilities, which will be empowered to implement the applicable provisions of federal laws, as established by the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. The measure is important to guarantee federal funds that are received for the benefit of the disabled population.
The office will be managed by an executive director and governed by an 11-member board of directors. Among those, two people with disabilities, two people who are parents or legal guardians of people with disabilities, two people who are representatives of non-profit foundations related to the population of people with disabilities, one person who is a member of the State Council for People with Developmental Disabilities and who is recommended by the full board, and a person from the Institute for Developmental Disabilities of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. The board of directors will also have various members appointed by the governor.
Meanwhile, the governor also signed the House Joint Resolution 122 to designate the PR-512 highway in Juana Díaz with the name of Néstor Luis Figueroa Lugo, in recognition of his professional career in the media.
Senate Bill 504 was also signed into law. It declares the second Monday of May of each year as Municipal Employees Day and begins the commemoration of Municipal Employees Week.