Guatemalan Policemen At Work

Police Station Reports, Charges and Denounce

In this tiny office of this building, the Captains’ Palace, two police officers take crime reports, charges and denounces, all under the Spanish word of denuncias. This photo looks like a slide taken out of a Latin American film from the 80s; like Men with Guns or El Norte. Unlike their peers in other parts of the North, Guatemalan Police officers are paid low wages and receive very little and poor training. They try to do their best, but resources are insufficient. I don’t have the exact figure right now, but I remember reading the starting monthly salary for a police man is about US$240. This is not enough!

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  • It is a nice photograph. I like you work.

    I hope you get to see the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak that came to Brookville, Ohio yesterday. It is the first one I have seen since we moved here 44 years ago.

  • Oh boy, this reminds me of the comisaria (cop shop) in Las Americas in Tenerife a decade or so ago, when the police were still two-finger typing on manual typewriters, in depressing surroundings no more luxurious than these. Now they’ve got a new building and computers! But, having a friend who was a Sargeant in the National police here, I am also very aware of how low their salaries are. More than what yours earn, but no better in real terms, if you take relative economies into consideration and, certainly wildly insuficient for someone risking their lives every day.

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  • He looks like he’s sleeping… in that case he is actually working!

  • Lea

    La policia?? pfffffffff LADRONES

  • Wow! It does look like a photo from a few decades ago, but I have a similar one from my trip in January! One of the doctors in our group got robbed, and I interpreted for him at the police station to make the report. (Of course, I had to get a picture of me with the policeman!) We were leaving that town, and needed the copy of the report, but it was Sunday, and the judge was not there to sign it. Nobody in our group of Americans could believe it when the policeman sent us down the street to find a paper store with a copy machine so that we could make our own copy (and he even asked us to make the 4 copies that he needed for his own records!). We went to 4 paper stores before we found one that had a copier that worked. Definitely a different experience from making a report here in the United States.

  • Amen! Like you, I believe they aren’t paid enough for what they do.

  • I must admit that some police station here (in Italy) it isn’t so much different from this one.

  • Manolo

    I was wondering if someone was going to comment on the fact that you have to buy your own paper for your police report… ah… even in a police station in zone 14 in the capital, just off Los Proceres… for those who might not be familiar with Guatemala City is supposedly the posh “zone” (district? arrondisement?). Another useless fact: Legal size is a different size in Guatemala than in Canada (US?).

    At least now the officers have their last name in big letters, eh? I also liked the name of their detachment in the police cars, so you know that if you are in Xela and see a police car from Escuintla asking you to stop there might be something fishy…