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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bill filed to beef up police forces in towns with ’auxiliary’ officers

House Speaker Rafael Hernández Montañez

By The Star Staff

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez on Thursday filed House Bill 1715, which seeks to transfer to the island’s municipalities the responsibility of providing security, protection and investigation services, through collaborative agreements, to unify the police force and guarantee the corresponding financing.

In addition, the measure, which was co-authored by the chairmen of the House Public Safety and Municipal Autonomy committees, Luis Ortiz Lugo and Juan José Santiago Nieves, respectively, creates the figure of the “auxiliary policeman,” who will be a professional with greater training, authority and responsibility in law compared to security guards, and who will assist the police when a violation of a criminal law arises by arresting the suspect.

“The only permanent solution is to continue with the economic recovery to prioritize security, strengthen this workforce, including its specialized units, and unify the police force to expand the number of troops in each region,” Hernández Montañez said at a press conference in Dorado.

House Bill 1715 has two fundamental purposes: 1) to transfer security, protection and investigative services to municipal governments, and 2) to authorize municipal governments to establish collaborative agreements with security agencies and create the rank of “auxiliary police.”

The House speaker stressed that the next budget will include an item to strengthen technological resources to combat crime, such as specialized drones, the Shotspotter system, body cameras, facial recognition technology, artificial intelligence and GPS tracking systems, among other things.

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