Photo: U.S. Army Col. Arnaldo Claudio
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Thursday announced the appointment of retired U.S. Army Col. Arnaldo Claudio as the new advisor to undertake a reform of the Puerto Rico Police Department.
The governor said that the naming of Claudio, confirmed by federal Judge Gustavo Gelpi, was agreed to with Puerto Rican authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Claudio replaces Juan Mattos, who in February resigned after less than four months in the post.
The federal Department of Justice sued the PRPD in 2012, citing a continuous pattern of civil rights violations, a high level of corruption and inadequate training.
The suit was dropped last year after the Department and the PRPD came to agreement on a pact to reform the troubled force.
“Col. Claudio has a distinguished service sheet of which we have to be very proud. He’s a Puerto Rican who in 33 years went from graduating from the Reserve Officer Training Corps to coordinating security at the inauguration of the president, Barack Obama, in his second term,” Garcia Padilla said.
Among his many achievements, Claudio coordinated security for one of the visits by the late Pope John Paul II to the United States.
He also advised the governments of Colombia, Peru and Bolivia in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.
In his new post, Claudio will have to ensure that the PRPD promotes and guarantees the necessary recruitment and training to make each one of its officers professionals at their job.
Another of his aims will be to establish the necessary internal controls on the use of force in police activities.