Photo: Martha Mesquita da Rocha, Rio de Janiero's new civil police chief, and Brazil's first female chief
In Rio de Janeiro, Martha Mesquita da Rocha has been named the first female civil police chief in Brazil.
Rocha, 51, has been on the force for 28 years, and was formerly in charge of a special division of precincts that focused on crimes against women. Throughout her career, Rocha has often taken a stand against corruption.
Allan Turnowski, Rocha’s predecessor, is reportedly about to be indicted for tipping off a cop who was under federal investigation. Turnowski officially resigned Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, with Rocha sworn in that same day.
The officer in question, is Christiano Gasper Fernandes, who has been arrested and charged with being in a member of the police-filled militia that violently controls slums and extorts money from local residents and businesses.
As of February 11th, 38 people have been arrested as part of the crackdown on corruption, with 30 being police officers.
When asked by O Globo newspaper how she plans to handle her officers she compared it to being a stern mother, saying, “I will punish when necessary and distribute hugs when they are deserved.”
Rocha added that she does not expect “resistance of rejection” since Brazil has already elected Dilma Rousseff as the first female president of the country.
“I think that maybe five years ago nobody would have expected a female president… [or] a female police chief. Soon this will stop being a shock, it will no longer be different.”