A police corps specially trained to provide support and security
to local, national and foreign tourists is now in operation
in Honduras. The Tourist Police Corps was created under an agreement
between the Ministries of Tourism and Security. Working in cooperation
with municipal authorities the program is part of President
Maduroâ€™s overall plan to cut crime nationwide.
The countryâ€™s first two Tourist Police squads are now
in operation in the cities of Tela and La Ceiba - two
major poles on the Honduran North Coast. Plans are underway
to set up additional squads in Copan, the Bay Islands, San
Pedro Sula and other tourism zones.
The Tourist Police are also called “Balam,” after
the Mayan word for “jaguar.” Officers bear a logo
inspired by one of the pieces found on the Hieroglyphic Staircase
at the Copan Archaeological Park. According to Mayan legend,
it was the spirit of the jaguar that protected their ancient
temples from harm.
The Tourist Police Corps is an initiative of the Tourism
Ministry. The Security Ministry provides technical support,
with logistical support coming from the municipalities and
local chambers of commerce and tourism. This support includes
food, housing, communications and training in human relations
and other areas that are key to working with tourists.