On April 28, the US Embassy and the National Civil Police (PNC by its acronym in Spanish) inaugurated an athletic court in the Usulutan Police Delegation, named after the PNC officer Nelson Panameño, who was killed on March 26. Panameño was one of the instructors from the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (GREAT). Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Sarah Sewall, Chargé d’Affaires Michael Barkin and the Director of the PNC Mauricio Landaverde participated in the ceremony.
In her speech, the Under Secretary Sewall highlighted the commitment of the U.S. government to cooperation with the Salvadoran government in the fight against crime and violence, a commitment shared by officer Panameño. Under Secretary noted that, ” Today, we can look to the life of officer Panameño and all of El Salvador’s fallen officers for inspiration as we work together to overcome the country’s security challenges, while upholding the rule of law and respect for human rights. The United States remains a committed partner in that effort.”
During the ceremony, one of the students benefitting from the GREAT program who was instructed by officer Panameño, spoke about the impact of the GREAT program and its instructors on her life.
GREAT is one of the cooperation programs between the government of the United States and the Salvadoran government as part of the objectives of the Partnership for Growth. Thanks to programs like this and other prevention programs such as the Police Athletic League and PNC youth computer centers, children and teens can be kept away from criminal activities through alternative spaces and recreational activities. Since the program began operating in early 2012, over 30,000 minors have benefited from the GREAT program.
United States, through the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office, has also supported the establishment of the model precinct of Usulutan, a program in which the PNC focuses on the identification and implementation of best practices in crime prevention and policing.