March 7, 2021

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Promotions in the Police ring out | government

The Police Bureau is working on the final part of a protocol that will allow it to be promoted to the ranks of inspector, commander and lieutenant colonel, which have been suspended for four years when a regulation signed between the United States Department of Justice and the various authorities of Puerto Rico —which are part of the police reform lawsuit— agreed that examinations had to be given for such promotions.

Sources of THE SPOKESMAN They have indicated that the protocol seeks to identify the candidates based on their preparation and experience, while others point out that there will be political sponsorship beyond the merits.

Commissioner Henry Escalera Rivera has declined to provide details of the protocol. Escalera Rivera has been in command of the Police since January 8, 2018 when then-Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares accepted the resignation of Commissioner Michelle Hernández de Fraley.

Pending approval

The protocol will have to be approved by the federal Department of Justice and supposedly will have to have the approval of federal judge Gustavo Gelpí, in whose hands is the case of the Police reform, which began in 2013.

In the past, Escalera Rivera expressed to THE SPOKESMAN that the regulation to give the exams was not valid for not having his signature.

However, it is interpreted that the regulation was signed by Alfonso Orona, who was La Fortaleza’s main legal advisor, in a clear acceptance of the document by the government. Among the alternatives that are contemplated is to carry out promotions under the protection that there is a security crisis in the Country and promotions are necessary.

According to sources from the Uniformed, the Department of Public Security (DSP), the agency under which the Police Bureau operates, had requested a list of candidates to be evaluated by Melinda Romero, the main assistant to Secretary Pedro Janer.

Janer has not responded to the request for THE SPOKESMAN to react to the situation.

The Police – according to the sources consulted – apparently sent a list directly to Governor Wanda Vázquez, at the same time that dispensations were requested to grant promotions in the midst of the electoral ban.

The Police has three colonel vacancies, for which the agreement does not apply. Another 18 positions of lieutenant colonel, 15 of commander and 42 for the rank of inspector, will require the exams if the proposed evaluation protocol is not accepted.

The requested waivers include a first lieutenant, three sergeants and 12 second lieutenants who have already passed the exams and are on the waiting list. The senior officers point out that more promotions to the rank of sergeant are needed to supervise in the front line and a greater number of agents for patrol and investigation.

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