New tourist police HQ opening brings praise for the agency

Leaders from both the public security and tourism sectors met at the new Policía Turística headquarters for its official unveiling and a show of support for the officers. In addition to the new facility, the government has also invested in new vehicles, uniforms, and weapons for the agency.

Friday morning the minister of Seguridad Pública, Mario Zamora, joined with the ministers of  Turismo and the Presidencia, and the heads of the Fuerza Pública and the Policía Turística to announce the economic support directed towards the specialized police force.

Zamora drew upon the increasingly critical connection between the state’s tourism industry and it’s overall safety. As Costa Rica’s tourism industry remains lucrative, Zamora said the work of the Policía Turística should not be overlooked.

“You all are carrying out critical duties for our country,” said Zamora to the audience of police officers. “You are responsible for the nation’s tourism success.”

Carlos Ricardo Benavides, the minster of the Presidencia, echoed Zamora’s words and said he remembered in past years when the ruling administration’s biggest worry was national security. He recalled a time when drug dealers had nicer, more efficient cars than the police offers trying to track them down. Because of the government’s ability to cut off this disparity, Benavides said the investments have been worth it.

“And now today we are one of the best tourism destinations in Latin America,” he said. He is a former tourism minister.

Created in 2006, the Policía Turística is now made up of 345 officials dispersed into 10 locations throughout the country. The agency is under the direction of Xinia Vásquez Mora, whose work received great praise from the government ministers.

Allan Flores, the current minister of Turismo, promised that the Policía Turística could expect additional aid from the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo in the near future. Flores said he is in favor of any taxes concentrated on public security measures and that these investments in facilities, vehicles, and uniforms are invaluable.

“This is obviously an important subject because no one visits this country without first being assured of its safety,” he said.

The new two-story building is located on Calle 11 and between Avenidas 10 and 12. Officers from all over the country will have access to the new headquarters since it includes a training room.

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff


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