Police numbers are beefed up in Limón province

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo New officers are presented to the community.

The Fuerza Pública is putting 25 more officers in the Limón region and two bicycle officers in Pococí.

This was announced over the weekend at the same time that José María Tijerino Pacheco, the security minister, and Juan José Andrade, the police director, went to the two communities to meet with residents.

Limón Centro is a high-crime area, and there is continual trouble at the public docks where union workers frequently stage strikes and slowdowns. An armored car guard died in a robbery attempt there a week ago.

The new Limón officers will work under the regional chief, Marlon Cubillo. More officers are scheduled to be assigned to Pococí later in the year, officials said.

The increased police personnel in the province likely will result in an increased presence along the Caribbean coast down to Sixaola. Residents in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Cahuita have sought more police for some time.

For police officers raised in the Central Valley, the Limón assignment will be challenging. Many in Limón speak three languages, Spanish, English and a creole. Many are descendants of Jamaican workers brought in to build the Atlantic railroad and later on the banana plantations.

The province is a route for smugglers bringing drugs and other goods in from Panama. The southern section in the Talamanca mountains is home to many marijuana plantations.

Some physicians at the Hospital Tony Facio in Limón demanded and received transfers elsewhere when they were threatened two years ago by extortionists.

The Fuerza Pública there has had its bad cops, too. In May two former officers got maximum sentences for delivering two young men to their executioners. They used their police powers to detain the men in Cahuita and then delivered them at gunpoint to members of a rival drug gang in Valle de Estrellas.

There have been lesser scandals.

The increase in police for Limón is in keeping with the Chinchilla administration philosophy that flooding the streets with officers reduces crime.

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