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4 August/ 2003
“BALAM” Tourist Police Train with Mexico’s “Tourist Angels”

The commanders of Honduras’ special tourist police squad - known by the name Balam - recently traveled to Mexico to train with that country’s special tourist police forces. The trip was designed to provide the Honduran officers with greater experience in the kind of operations that emphasize special tourist needs.

Participating in the program were Sub Commissioner Ramon Hernandez Martinez and the Balam Chief Operations Officer for Tela, Jose Jair Meza. They met with several officials from Mexico’s Ministry of Protection, as well as Acapulco’s Municipal Tourism Director, Roger Bergeret, and Acapulco Mayor Alberto Lopez Rosas. The primary focus of the meetings was to explore and observe measures taken to protect and serve tourists in Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most important tourist destinations.

Chief Jair said an important difference between Mexico and Honduras in their approach to tourist police is that, unlike Honduras whose tourist police squad is a branch of the central government’s Ministry of Security, Mexico’s tourist police forces are run on a municipal basis with separate management. This and other strategies that are in place in Mexico may work equally well in Honduras, he said, pointing out that by providing tourists with excellent service and safety in hotels, on the street and at tourist destinations is good for both tourists and the tourism industry.

The idea, he said, is to use Acapulco’s “Tourist Angels” police force as a model for a similar squad in the Bay Islands. This will entail additional exchanges with tourist police officers and a series of training sessions on developing and implementing strategies aimed specifically at protecting and serving tourists.

The trip was organized by the Honduran Ministry and Institute of Tourism and whose mission is the same: to provide service and protection to people who visit the country’s tourist destinations.


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