By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For Carnival 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, authorities announced they will have more than 400 agents of the Operaçao Segurança Presente (Operation Security Today) on patrol during the official dates. Friday February 5th to Tuesday February 9th. Teams normally work in two eight-hour shifts, using identification vests in green in Flamengo, orange in Lagoa, and yellow in Meier.
The program Operaçao Lapa Presente (Operation Lapa Today) was launched in January 2014 in order to increase security in Lapa, with police officers that receive special training on respecting civilian rights. It was expanded in October 2015 to include Flamengo, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Meier, then December to Barra da Tijuca.
The operation is a collaboration between the state government and the Federation of Commerce of Rio de Janeiro (Fecomércio). According to Secretary of Government, Paulo Melo, “We are making the greatest effort to give more tranquility to the population enjoy the carnival with joy.”
During Carnival, in Lapa the agents will patrol form 9:30 PM at 5:30 AM, when there is the greatest concentration of people. In Meier, agents work from 8AM to midnight to meet the schedules of the blocos (street parties). At Lagoa and Flamengo, all personnel will be in action from 6AM to 10PM.
American expatriate in Rio, and co-owner of the Blue Agave Mexican bar and restaurants, Jason Galeria, said, “Although 400 officers seems like too small of a number to make any meaningful difference, I assume they will be highly concentrated in the most touristy areas.[…] So while they might not make a difference in the average Carioca’s Carnival, they should make the city safer for tourists coming to enjoy the holiday.”
The Operaçao Segurança Presente is staffed with military officers and graduates of the active civilian personnel of the Armed Forces. According to government sources, for greater transparency of actions, all confrontations are videotaped and teams are monitored by GPS.
Various organizations act together to coordinate the program: Secretariat of State Government, Military Police, Civil Police, the Eastern Military Command, Home Guard, municipal departments of Public Order, Social Development, Conservation, Transportation and COMLURB. The Fecomércio RJ System is the investment partner of the operations in Aterro, Lagoa and Meier.
In October Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão said he believes that the Fecomércio will help authorities expand the policing project. “Partnering with Fecomércio is in line with our desire to expand the community policing model, by adopting as reference the successful experience implemented in Lapa. The population is who wins,” said governor Luiz Fernando Pezão.
For assistance or more information call or email; Aterro Presente: 98496-0114 – firstname.lastname@example.org, Lagoa Presente: 96500-5811 or email@example.com, Méier Presente: 96507-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The attendants will likely only speak Portuguese, but if that is a problem is the DEAT – The Tourist Police on Av. Humberto de Campos 315 in Leblon is open 24 hours per day and can be reached at 2332-2924. They are specialized in handling foreigner’s problems, they are both fast, reliable and speak English.