Friday, April 04, 2008

Panama: National Police Chief says gays can serve as law enforcement officers

[NOTE: This post has been updated here]

Although we have no access to the original radio interview that was broadcast yesterday at Panama's
La Exitosa radio station, Critica says that Rolando Mirones (right), the chief of the National Police, told listeners that gays could join the police department as long as they followed the Constitution, the law and the regulations as part of their service.

He also told radio host Renato Pereira that "it would be bad to ask a person if they are gay or not, because that has nothing to do with his or her [work] performance."

"I believe," he added, "that if the person has the moral, ethical, psychological and physical capacity to be a police officer it does not matter what their preference is and what it is that they do at home and during their free time."

In totally unrelated comments, Mirones (left, just in case you didn't get the full Mirones vibe above) also said that the police department will accept tattooed recruits as long as their tattoos are "artistic" and not on parts of the body that are visible during work. HOT!

It's that last decision that has riled up some opposition from legislators, according to La Estrella. The president of the local city council, Omar Montenegro, exclaimed "It's not possible to now allow new police officers to have tattoos and, in addition, to have perforations on their ears!"

Critics said that it was a desperate move by the department to increase the number of new recruits and that tattoos are usually associated with people involved in "illicit activities."

Then again, maybe they'd only learned about the part about tattoos and had yet to catch wind of Mirone's comments on allowing gays in the police force? After all, when La Estrella reported on changes to police recruitment rules on Wednesday, the department had only revealed that they were going to be less strict about tattoos and earrings worn by police officers.

In the meantime, check the National Police of Panama's official mascot over at their website (lower right column here). Pretty gay, no?

I'm not sure about the department's track record in dealing with LGBT folk in Panama and, particularly, the transgender community, but Blabbeando certainly supports efforts by Mirones to broaden the diversity of the police force.

1 comment:

John K said...

Andrés, thanks for doing what you do. I never fail to learn something new here. Mad props to Mirones, but I wonder what the ultimate fallout will be from what appears to be a really courageous perspective and a desire to act on it.