As expected, Police Chief Emilio Díaz Colón has come out in defense of his underlings. During a press conference, he stated that "not one single police officer has come to commit civil rights violations." Furthermore, he contends that the police force will continue to do its job with dignity and respect." He did concede that the PRPD will have to implement "some" changes, and will have to provide its officers with the necessary training as suggested in the DOJ's report, which put forth 133 recommendations. Nevertheless, specific details on how the island's police force will be transformed were not provided by
Meanwhile, Gov. Fortuño has stated that his administration has sent a proposal, back in March, specifying how 110 of the 133 recommendations listed on the DOJ's report will be put into place. As there seems to be no end in sight to the island's crime wave, the homicide rate is 22.5 per 100,000 residents (it is nearly double that of Louisiana's, which has the U.S' highest rate), most have long had little or no confidence in the PRPD's ability to keep the streets safe. By the same token, little trust is bestowed upon other local government agencies, i.e Department of Education, the Department of Family, among others. This latest blow from federal authorities will hopefully bring about some substantive changes in the PRPD, but nobody is holding their breath. According to Gov. Fortuño, it can take as long as 15 years for the reform process to come full circle.
(Photo credit: Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press)