559.8 Colliding perspectives on police training and practices: Analyzing Ronda do Quarteirão

Friday, August 3, 2012: 1:47 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Letícia ARAÚJO , Departamento de Ciências Sociais, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
Jania AQUINO , Departamento de Ciências Sociais, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
This research approaches the Ronda do Quarteirão (which may be translated to Block Patrol program), a segment of the Military Police conceived and implemented in 2007 in the state of Ceará, located in the northeast of Brazil. Ronda was presented by the state government as the “good neighbor Police”. Television and radio advertisements emphasized the modern equipment made available for this program, as well as the content related to “human rights” and “conflict mediation” incorporated to the training education of its agents. Soon after its implementation, Ronda enjoyed high rates of approval. The population was satisfied with the increase of in flagrante delicto arrests and the display of a sophisticated working infrastructure in the hands of a “new Police”. Since 2008, however, events have come to “tarnish” Ronda’s image. Car accidents as a result of the agents’ lack of preparation conducting modern vehicles were greatly widespread. The disastrous police approach that resulted in the death of a teenager mistakenly considered a robber, shot to death while he sat on a motorcycle with his father, generated intense commotion. Not to mention the embarrassing images featuring police officers in intimate contact with two young women inside a patrol vehicle. These episodes have triggered discussions on the viability of this "new Police" and their training. This paper analyzes approximations and distances among the arguments of social assistants, sociologists and journalists who have expressed their thoughts in the local press and also among the voices of our research participants (agents and police officers of the Ronda do Quarteirão) about the practice and training of this segment of police. While the first set of people emphasized values associated to human rights not yet incorporated by the police, the latter protest on teachings related to the approach of people and the handling of guns.