Frontier police end studies and are ready for borders

President Laura Chinchilla reviewed a force of 150 officers who now make up the Policía de Fronteras, a new unit of the Fuerza Pública that is charged with securing the national borders.

Ms. Chinchilla reviewed the officers during a ceremony in Los Chiles Wednesday. The members of the force are all police officers who have received six weeks of special training in their border duties.

Casa Presidencial said that these duties include fighting drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, money laundering and other cross-border crimes. They also are supposed to guard the sovereignty of the nation.

The frontier police unit was announced in December after Costa Rica was invaded by Nicaraguan soldiers in the Isla Calerio. Fuerza Pública officers have been guarding the borders, but the central government said that more specialized troops are needed.

Included in the displays Wednesday were camouflage uniforms that some of the officers will wear. In addition, weapons heavier than the regulation 9-mm pistol were on display.

Although the ceremony Wednesday was in the northern zone, the unit also will have responsibility for the border with Panamá. The officers will work on the Caribbean, at Sixaola on the southeastern border, at Los Chiles and also the northern zone communities of La Cruz and Upala.

In many areas the northern border is wide open now.

The new units are set up in military fashion with three platoons divided into squads. The border police will have one boat, radios, satellite telephones, microcomputers and vehicles.

The vehicles will be fewer for awhile than the 18 assigned to the units. A convoy of police vehicles were involved in a chain collision Tuesday that damaged five vehicles. They were in San José en route to Los Chiles and La Cruz when the lead vehicle stopped short.

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