By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Military Police (MP) in Rio de Janeiro will suspend vacations to ensure 12,752 police officers and 1,393 vehicles are employed to guarantee public safety for the New Year’s Eve event, from 8AM on Sunday (December 31st) until the following day (January 1st), according to a government news agency.
The state security force plans to provide special attention to the areas of Zona Sul (South Zone) of Rio, as well as Niterói, Região dos Lagos (Lake Region) and Costa Verde (Green Coast), like Angra dos Reis and Paraty. The security plan employs 19.6 percent more resources than last year, when 10,694 police officers were employed.
For the New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout the state, the MP has suspended vacations and relocated full-time police officers to administrative activities. With this change, it allowed an increase of 6,363 police officers, surpassing the extra personnel obtained last year by 24 percent.
To guarantee security in Copacabana Beach, the Military Police mobilized 1,822 police officers and 64 vehicles. Thirty observation towers will be positioned on the edge of Copacabana – fifteen in the sand and fifteen in the boardwalk. In addition to the vehicles, policing will also be patrolling on foot, with bikes, dogs and on horseback.
Anne Dorst, a Dutch expatriate living in Rio and co-owner of Rio Kombi Tours, is happy to hear about the increased security plan and shares, “I hear many people being concerned about the safety in Copacabana this year, much more than other years.”
She also explains, “I’ve spent several NYE’s [on Copacabana Beach] and it’s always fascinating, the fireworks are breathtaking, even when you’ve already seen it before. I don’t think this year will be much different safety wise from any other year.”
As far as advice, she adds, “Just don’t go to the most crowded area around the main stage, stay further towards the edges of the beach (post 5 or Leme) and you’ll be fine. Obviously don’t bring anything of value. To me it’s still the best NYE party in the world.”
According to MP Chief of Staff Colonel Luís Henrique Pires, the suspension of police vacations and the reallocation of personnel working in medium-size activities in administrative and operational units are normal procedures adopted by the corporation to attend special situations, such as New Year’s Eve, Carnival and other great events.
The official said, “[The] January vacation starts from January 2nd. These days will be compensated according to the understanding between the police and the command of the units where they are full.”