Nearly 5,000 police walk off the job over the weekend
By John McPhaul
Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa announced that 30 policemen had not reported for work early Sunday, adding up to 4,989 absences over the weekend to that point.
“Agents attached to specialized units, such as Homicides, Sexual Crimes and FURA [the Spanish acronym for Joint Forces of Rapid Action], among others, have continued to respond uninterruptedly to the different incidents reported throughout the island,” López Figueroa said in a written statement.
He added that the plan for Halloween Night continues in effect with the activation of the officers who are reinforcing the police areas, the municipal police, the federal working groups and in support of the components of the Public Safety Department.
The police commissioner noted that, due to the activation of the alternate plan, a number of shifts and schedules were altered.
“For this reason, we determined to provide an estimated number after the daily closing of work,” López Figueroa said. “Tomorrow we will be providing an update corresponding to the close of today. In this way, the figures will be able to be comparable and with greater detail.”
Meanwhile, Public Safety Secretary Alexis Torres Ríos said personnel from businesses were being activated over the weekend to reinforce security in all police zones.
Meanwhile, Guánica Mayor Ismael “Titi” Rodríguez Ramos announced that, in the absence of commonwealth police, he decreed that the closing time of businesses throughout the municipality would be at 10 p.m. to promote safety in the streets and in communities.
“As my fellow mayors have done, in Guánica we are going to maximize our resources from the Municipal Police and Municipal Emergency Management to deal with incidents that may arise,” the mayor said before the wave of absences in the ranks of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau over the weekend to protest pension cuts and working conditions.
“This whole situation has forced us mayors to make all kinds of adjustments to be able to keep the streets safe,” Rodríguez Ramos said. “There is a demand from the police and certainly the call is to the Legislature, the state government and in particular the fiscal control board to generate solutions. We, the municipalities, are always willing to collaborate, but resources are increasingly limited.”
Other municipalities such as Caguas, Ponce, Yauco, Quebradillas and Barceloneta declared a state of emergency to address the absence of commonwealth police.