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Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais
Caveira bope.jpg
"Faca na Caveira" (Portuguese for "Knife In The Skull"), BOPE logo and motto
Active 1978 - Present
Country Brazil
Type Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Role Urban warfare, Law Enforcement, Operations in favelas (slums) (Counter-Terrorism)
Size Around 400
Garrison/HQ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nickname BOPE
Colors Black
Mascot "Faca na Caveira" ("Knife In The Skull")
Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant Colonel Paulo Henrique Azevedo

BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, Portuguese for Special Police Operations Battalion) is the elite special forces unit in the Military Police of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Due to the nature of crime in favelas, BOPE units have extensive experience in urban warfare as well as progression in confined and restricted environments. It also utilizes equipment deemed more powerful than traditional civilian law enforcement. Currently serving with 400 soldiers, BOPE is believed to be one of the most efficient military forces in the world. [1][2]

Contents

History and origins

The origins of BOPE date back to 19 January 1978 when Núcleo da Companha de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Company Nucleus or NuCOE) was formed and placed under the command of the chief of staff for the state's military police. In 1982 the company was moved to the Batalhão de Polícia de Choque, thus becoming part of that unit. Its name was changed again to Companhia de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Company, or COE). In 1984 the name was changed once again to NuCOE and was, again, under the command of the chief of staff. In 1988, the Companhia Independente de Operações Especiais – (Special Operations Independent Company, or CIOE) was created, with its jurisdiction spanning all over the State of Rio de Janeiro. It became BOPE on 01 March 1991.

Significant Roles

BOPE operators.
  • Providing additional security at special events.
  • Break barricades constructed by drug dealers
  • Shoot to kill at criminals threatening human life
  • Exterminate drug ghettos as well as its gangs
  • Extract police officers or civilians injured in confrontations
  • Rescuing officers and citizens captured or endangered by gunfire.
  • Serve high-risk arrest warrants
  • Hostage rescue
  • Stabilizing situations involving high-risk suicidal subjects.
  • Suppress prison riots
  • Support civil police in combat
  • Providing superior assault firepower in certain situations
  • Armed patrols
  • Special missions in swamps or mountainous terrains such as reconnaissance, planning and infiltration
  • Engage in combat serving state sovereignty
  • Crime suppression.
  • Resolving high-risk situations with a minimum loss of life, injury, or property damage.

Weapons and vehicles

M16 is the main BOPE weapon (here in the form of a M4)

The force has a fleet of Armoured fighting vehicles, which are known as "Pacificador" ("Peacemaker"), or "Caveirão" ("Big Skull")[3]. These vehicles are used in operations in the slums (favelas) where BOPE faces intense conflicts with drug dealers, they are heavily equipped with .30 Carbines. BOPE soldiers are equipped with heavy armament:

Tropa de Elite

In 2006, the book Elite da Tropa was published. Written by sociologist Luiz Eduardo Soares and two BOPE officers, Major André Batista and Captain Rodrigo Pimentel, it provides a semi-fictional account of the daily routine of BOPE as well as some historical events, based on the experiences of the latter two. It describes BOPE as a "killing machine" and details an alleged aborted assassination attempt by some police officers on then-governor Leonel Brizola. The book was controversial at the time of release, and reportedly resulted in Batista being reprimanded and censured by the Military Police. [5] The book has been made into a movie, Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad), directed by José Padilha (the director of Bus 174), with a screenplay by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Bráulio Mantovani.

Criticism

In March 2006, Amnesty specifically condemned the use of the Caveirão. It stated that deploying the vehicle aggressively, indiscriminately targeting whole communities, highlighted the ineffectiveness of excessive use of force.[6]

References

  1. ^ http://www.observatoriodaimprensa.com.br/artigos.asp?cod=456CID004
  2. ^ http://www.radioagencianp.com.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3314&Itemid=43
  3. ^ "Campanha Contra o "Caveirão"". Justiça Global. http://www.global.org.br/portuguese/campanhacontracaveirao.html. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  4. ^ Lasterra, Juan Pablo (2008). "La Police Militaire Brésillienne en état de Guerre" (in Spanish). Police Pro No. 11 (September 2008).
  5. ^ Mario Hugo Monken (2006-04-29). "Livro sobre elite da PM do Rio causou punição, diz autor". Folha de S. Paulo. http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/cotidiano/ult95u120946.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  6. ^ "Brazil: Caveirão -- Rio’s real “bogeyman”". Amnesty International. 2006-03-13. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR190092006. Retrieved 2008-09-19. "“The caveirão has become a powerful symbol of the failings of public security policies in Rio de Janeiro. It typifies the police’s confrontational and divisive approach to Rio’s public security crisis,” said Marcelo Freixo of Global Justice at the launch of a campaign against the use of the caveirão in Brazil’s favelas." 

See also

External links

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