** Remarks prepared — This English translation is provided as a courtesy. The original text was prepared and delivered in Spanish; only the original Spanish text should be considered authoritative. **
Before we begin, I would like to congratulate El Salvador for your “civic month” you are currently celebrating. I am constantly impressed by how you always sing your national anthem. This is not a custom in the United States, but I think it’s something we could learn from El Salvador because I thoroughly enjoy listening to you singing it.
I also want to mention that while I was coming in, Director Coto asked me how many times I had already visited “El Castillo”. At this point, I can no longer remember how many times I have come to these Headquarters, because the police are so important for our collaboration, between the United States and El Salvador to improve the security of the country. I am here almost every week, every month, participating in events with the police. This support is fundamental, and today’s event is just one more of the many ways we demonstrate this support.
As some of you may already know, my brother has been a member of the police in the United States for more than 25 years, and so, I always feel at home here.
We have a basic philosophy at the US Embassy in El Salvador: we are here to support Salvadoran efforts. For the Government of the United States, it is a pleasure to be able to support the transparency efforts of the National Civil Police (PNC).
This morning we deliver 500 GO Pro cameras that will help the PNC to reinforce their professionalism and ensure the integrity of future operations.
The PNC also has a camera use policy which was created through a taskforce formed by members of the National Civil Police and our International Office for Anti-Narcotics Affairs and Law Enforcement, INL.
Our own experience in the United States has shown us the positive results of this type of procedure. Since the implementation of the “Body Cams” policies in the United States we have been able to see a considerable reduction in incidents of excessive force in those regions where its use has been implemented.
For example, in the Rialto police department in Los Angeles there was a 60% reduction in incidents of excessive use of force, and an 88% reduction of complaints by the population for inappropriate use of force or discrimination, which indicates an increase in public confidence towards the police.
Police officers face unimaginable risks day-to-day, and this is also evident here in El Salvador, and this mechanism will serve both for the protection of agents as well as for civilians.
Initiatives like these that seek to promote transparency are an important step for the PNC and the fulfillment of its mission, since trust in the “Heroes in Blue” can only be generated through transparency. And this trust is fundamental to the fight against crime and violence in El Salvador, because security is a priority for all Salvadorans and to us.
This initiative supports the implementation of the Plan El Salvador El Salvador Seguro and follows the guidelines of the Alliance for Prosperity as well as the US Government’s criteria for support in El Salvador.
It is clear that we share the same goal: to contribute to the quality of life of all Salvadorans by fostering an environment in which security is balanced with the needs of the community.
Promoting the integrity of the different institutions that make up a government is a step forward for a safe, just and prosperous El Salvador.