Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes in the PNC Internal Affairs Office Opening event

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.  

I would like to begin by expressing my most sincere respect towards the Salvadoran people, their culture, their history, and their character. In the year and a half that I have been living and working in El Salvador, I have developed a true appreciation for all that your country and its people offer.  I am honored to work as Ambassador of the United States in El Salvador. We will continue to support Salvadoran efforts to strengthen their country.

I also want to express my deep gratitude to all members of the police force for their commitment to their very stressful work, a quality which often goes unrecognized. Some of you will know, that I have a brother who is a policeman in the United States, in the state of Florida. And whether you live in different countries, with different cultures, there is something that I think all police officers share: your values, practices and the ethics that all cops around the world have in common. You answer a call to watch over all the citizens of El Salvador, to protect the most vulnerable, and to accompany Salvadoran families often in their hardest moments.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police in its Code of Ethics, expresses this same sentiment in their oath which says: “I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service.

We are here this morning because we recognize the importance of your work, the difficulties you face, and because we are convinced that the National Civil Police and all its agents — from the cadet still in training to the most veteran — are indispensable to building an El Salvador safe for everyone.

The  Internal Affairs Office that we are inaugurating today is a step towards a more professional and modern police force, with adequate spaces to carry out your work, and with the necessary processes and protocols to face and resolve situations when they arise.

The PNC is a fundamental link in the long chain of justice, and even the best police departments on an international level must have this ability to self-regulate. Internal Affairs investigations have been essential to fight corruption in our own police force in the United States. We have seen it in 1970 with the Knapp Commission which investigated systematic corruption in the NYPD. And, in the 90s in Los Angeles with the Rampart Corruption Task Force, which prosecuted more than seventy officers for a series of illicit activities. In both of these cases, the investigations resulted in a transformation of the police force.

As public officials we have an obligation to respond to a higher standard. And, at times there will be serious incidents, here and in all countries around the world. In my own country there have been serious cases in recent years; in Chicago and Maryland and other states in the United States. But, the most important thing  when a serious incident happens is not to try to cover the sun with a finger. It is at this moment to shed light, to be more transparent, to use protocols and show the institutionally that you have.

Establishing transparency and regulatory mechanisms such as the Office of Internal Affairs help grow the trust your citizens have in you. And this trust is fundamental for the fight against crime and violence in El Salvador, because security is a priority for all Salvadorans.

At the embassy we work under a basic philosophy: we support the Salvadoran efforts. This project is no different and we will continue to support the implementation of Plan El Salvador Seguro and the Alliance for Prosperity.

This is one of the ways in which we honor your work and dedication.

Thank you very much.

 

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.