Colombian National Police (Spanish: Policía
Nacional de Colombia) are the national police force of the Republic of
Unlike local police forces in Colombia, the National Police are a
military armed force and are part of the Ministry of Defense
. They are
the largest police force in Colombia.
The force's main function is to protect the Colombian nation,
enforce the law by constitutional mandate to maintain and guarantee
the necessary conditions for public freedoms and rights and to
ensure peaceful cohabitation among the population.
Creation in the 19th Century
During the second half of the 19th century Colombia went through
many political changes and struggles to define itself as a nation.
Tensions between the two main political parties, the Colombian Liberal Party
, escalated to numerous civil wars trying to establish a
political system between federalism
and other major
Colombian National Police was established by Law 90 of 1888 to be
under government orders and as a dependency of the then Ministry of
Government intended to function as a gendarmerie for Bogotá.
The new institution was planned to be a force of 300 gendarmes
divided into three companies
; commanded by a captain,
two lieutenants and a second lieutenant, all commanded by two high
23, 1890, acting president Carlos Holguín Mallarino
sanctioned into law the authorization to hire any qualified
trainers from either the United States or Europe to organize and
train the newly established National Police. The Colombian
officials selected a French commissioner
named Jean Marie Marcelin
The institution was formally established by
decree 1000 of November 5, 1891.
The initial mission of the National Police was to preserve public
tranquility, protecting people and public and private properties.
By constitutional law the institution had to enforce and guarantee
the rights of the people, the constitution and its laws, and obey
their authority. Its function also included the authority to take
action to prevent crimes and prosecute and arrest law-breakers. The
National Police was intended to recognize no privileges or
distinctions among the general population. The only exception was
for international treaties established in the Constitution that
gave immunity to members of diplomatic missions.
After a civil war broke out in 1895 during the presidency
of Rafael Nuñez
, the president went absent
and Miguel Antonio Caro
over office temporarily. Caro declared a general state of emergency
in which the National
Police was transferred to the Ministry of War on January 21, 1896,
and its members received same privileges as the military
When aged president Manuel
was replaced by Vice-president José Manuel Marroquín
assumed the presidency, the National Police was restructured and
organized in a military manner. It was transferred back to the
Ministry of Government. To guarantee the security of Bogotá, the
National Police was divided into seven districts to cover the
entire city. A mutual fund called Caja de Gratificaciones
was set up to pay benefits to service members, financed by the
penalties imposed to the civilian population. By 1899 the National
Police had a force of 944 agents divided into eight divisions.
Colombian National Policemen
guarding the Colombian Inspector General's building.
When the most intense of the civil wars broke out, known as the
Thousand Days War
National Police was once again assigned to the Ministry of War
until September 6, 1901. Under the Decree 1380 of September 16,
1902 the National Police created the Presidential Palace Honor
Guard Corps with the name Guardia Civil de la Ciudad de
(Civil Guard of the City of Bogotá).
During the presidency of Rafael Reyes
the government authorized by decree 743 of 1904, the transfer of
the Police to the Ministry of War, with the president
micro-managing the institution. By authorization of Law 43 the
Judicial Commissary of Police was established under the dependency
of the General Command of the National Police to investigate crimes
within its jurisdiction.
From 1906 to 1909 the government created a cloned institution with
similar functions to the National Police named the National
Corps (Cuerpo de
) intended to function decentralized from
the National Police command and more militarized regime, managed by
the Ministry of War. When General Jorge Holguín suppressed the
National Gendarmerie Corps, the province governors were given the
authority to organize police services at their own will.
Law 14 signed on November 4, 1915 defined the National Police
functions to "preserve public tranquility in Bogotá and any other
place where needed to execute its functions, protect citizens and
aid the constitutional law by enforcing it and the judicial branch
of government." The institution was divided into three groups; the
first in charge of security and vigilante functions, a second group
acting as civil gendarmerie guard whose main responsibility was
protecting the postal service and controlling the prison system.
The third group functioned as the judicial police. In 1916 the
institution was trained by the Spanish Guardia Civil
in their doctrine, mainly
related to criminology
. Two years later
in 1918, they were restructured by Decree 1628 of October 9
of 1918, assigning the direction,
sub-direction and Inspector General duties to the Colombian Army
. Later the same year,
as authorized by a Law 74 of November 19, 1919, the Colombian
president hired a French instructor
and chief of detectives, who was an expert in the anthropometric system to train the National
In 1924 the Criminal Investigation School was founded to update
personnel working in this area. In 1929 the Colombian government in agreement
with the Argentine government, hired Enrique Medina Artola to train
the Colombian Police in dactylography
to replace the anthropometric system.
In 1934 in an
agreement with the Spanish government the National Police was
trained in scientific identification until 1948.
On July 7, 1937 by Decree 1277, the government authorized the
creation of the General Santander Academy, which began operating in
1940 as an institute for every police recruit in the force.
the Colombian government receives the first cooperation agreement
with the United
States, through a Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) committee headed by agent Edgar K.
El Bogotazo and La Violencia
In 1948 when the civil unrest known as "El Bogotazo
" broke out, after the assassination of the
popular presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitán
stability of the country was abruptly interrupted. This generated a
period of civil unrest known as La
, which lasted for almost a decade. The government then
decided to restructure the institution once again, with the
cooperation and advice from the British.
English mission was integrated by Colonel Douglas Gordon, Colonel
Eric M. Roger, Lieutenant Colonel Bertrand W.H. Dyer, Major
Frederick H. Abbot and Major William Parham, primarily assisted by
Colombian lawyers Rafael Escallón, Timoleón Moncada, Carlos Losano
Losano, Jorge and Enrique Gutiérrez Anzola.
By Decree 0446 of February 14, 1950 the National Police created the
Gonzálo Jiménez de Quesada Non-Commissioned School to train
mid-level enlisted staff under the management of the General Santander
National Police Academy
Military Dictator, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
On June 13, 1953 Lieutenant General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
seized power in
a coup d'etat
, assuming functions as
President of Colombia. In an attempt to better organize the
military forces, President Rojas declared the Decree 1814 on the
same day, to group the General Command of the Military Forces under
the name of General Command of the Armed Forces. It defined the
conformation of the Armed Forces as comprising the Army
and Police Force, the
last assigned to the Ministry of War once again as a fourth
military power, functioning with its own independent budget and
organization, separate from the other branches as established by
law. The Ministry of War was later renamed Ministry of Defense.
Police Academies were planned and constructed in other cities of
Colombia; in 1953 Academies Antonio Nariño in Barranquilla and Alejandro Gutiérrez in Manizales were opened, followed by a social plan for
retirement and social security called Caja de Sueldos de la
Policia Nacional by Decree 417 of 1954. The Eduardo Cuevas
Academy later opened in 1955 in the city of Villavicencio and the Carlos Holguín Academy in Medellín was opened in 1958. During this year a
cooperation mission arrived from Chile to
reorganize and train the Carabinier Corps
in urban and rural surveillance.
As established in Law 193 of December 30, 1959, the Colombian
nation assumed full financial responsibility for the National
Colombian Armed Conflict
In 1964, as mandated by the Decree 349 of February 19
, the Police Superior Academy was
founded to indoctrinate officers with the rank of Major to the
grade of Lieutenant Colonels. By 1977 the institution had created
the first course for female officers.
During the 1960s and 1970s the National Police started facing
guerrilla threats which were emerging during these years as a
backlash from the political bipartisan struggle of the La Violencia
years. There was also the
growing problem of contraband and illegal drug trafficking and the
involvement of the United
States with the implementation of the Plan LASO as a proxy war plan against the expansion of Communism during the Cold
Later, the declaration of the War on Drugs
and the Plan Colombia
would eventually help develop
the present and ongoing Colombian Armed Conflict
mainly guerrillas: the FARC-EP
Patriotic Union Party
, among many others; the Drug Cartels
such as the Medellín Cartel
, Cali Cartel
, and others; paramilitarism
and the AUC
. The Colombian
National Police have been fighting against these many threats,
tainted or involved in some cases of corruption and accusations of
human rights violations, amid the efforts of the majority of the
institution to change its image.
Late 1990s improvement drive
During successive weak presidencies, some Colombian National Police
members were accused of being involved in many corruption cases,
including guerrilla collaboration; paramilitarism and the cleansing
of the leftist Patriotic Union Party, among other cases; and the
corruption generated by the drug cartels' illegal money or other
criminal activities. The CNP became untrusted by the general
population of Colombia and the country was facing an intense
conflict or a full scale civil war
To prevent this situation the institution began a process of change
focusing on reinvigorating the values and principles of the
institution, mostly led by General Rosso Jose Serrano
. Colombia's problems
were demanding a strong government with strong institutions to face
the numerous violations to the constitution and the population in
general. The first steps towards this path was the relegation of
bad policemen inside the force and targeting the major criminal
organizations. The institution also focused on providing better
benefits for the policemen and their families; and a particular
effort to restore the trust of the community for the police force,
emphasizing preventing crime, educating the population and the
policemen on cordial relationships, neighborhood watch,
cooperation, and community development.
Since 1995 the National Police has begun to change norms,
structures, and standard operating procedures, essentially on
policemen's judgment toward accomplishing missions and encouraging
those who are willing to work with selfless service, integrity,
leadership, and a vision of improving the population in
The National Police continues to have some corruption and human
rights problems but the improvement has been considerable,
including the education of personnel in other countries' law
enforcement institutions and educational institutions through
cooperation agreements. 
The institution is also highly
involved in the Plan Colombia
2007 Wiretapping Scandal
In May 2007, Revista Semana
transcripts of illegal wiretaps of incarcerated paramilitary
leaders. After admitting his knowledge of the taps, commanding
general Jorge Daniel Castro
asked to resign, along with General Guillermo Chavez Ocana, the
intelligence chief. General Oscar Naranjo Trujillo, a relatively
junior general, was named to replace Castro. Due to police rules,
Naranjo's appointment required the additional retirement of 10
senior generals. 
The Officer Corps of the Colombian National Police forms the
commanding level of the institution, starting with the rank of
sub-lieutenant, and ascending through lieutenant, captain, major,
lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier general, major general, to
the final and top grade of general. This branch is in charge of the
administrative area of the institution and its public
The executive branch is formed by chief officers of the Colombian
National Police, who are commissioned to political appointee
duties, and may or may not actually be professional police
officers. In these circumstances, there is often a professional
chief of police in charge of day-to-day operations.
This branch of the Colombian National Police is in charge of
executing operations and functions under the command of the
- Auxiliar de Policía : Auxiliary Police: Provides his compulsory
military service in the National Police for (18) eighteen months,
performing any other activities as a professional member of the
institution. Use small arms, batons (Tonfa),
and in areas of public policy or are sentinels of the police
station, using long range weapons (rifles).
- Auxiliar de Policía Bachiller : Auxiliary Police Bachelor:
Provides his compulsory military service in the National Police for
(12) twelve months performing community activities, to regulate
traffic and other primary activities of police. Does not use
The National Police is an armed civilian in nature, with a
hierarchical structure, similar to that of the Armed Forces of
Colombia. The CNP is headed by the Director General of National
Police, who is appointed by the President of the Republic, an
official of the General of the institution.
Because their jurisdiction is national, the police distributed in
its coverage: (8) Regional Police, (5) and Metropolitan Police (34)
Police Departments, including the region of Uraba.
The Directorate General (DIPON), is divided into six directorates
support services (administrative), eight operational direction, a
direction of educational counselors and five offices:
- Operational Level:
- Direccion Operativa - Operative
- Dirección de Seguridad Ciudadana (DISEC) - Directorate of
Public Security (DISEC)
- Dirección de Carabineros y Seguridad - Directorate of
Carabiners and Rural Security
- Dirección de Investigación Criminal (DIJIN) - Directorate of
Criminal Investigation (DIJIN)
- Dirección de Inteligencia Policial (DIPOL) - Police
Intelligence Directorate (DIPOL)
- Dirección de Antinarcóticos (DIRAN) - Narcotics Directorate
- Dirección de Protección y Servicios Especiales (DIPRO) -
Directorate for Protection and Special Services (DIPRO)
- Dirección Antisecuestro y Antiextorsión - Directorate for Anti
- Dirección de Tránsito y Transporte - Directorate of Traffic and
- Administrative level:
- Dirección Administrativa y Financiera (DIRAF) - Directorate for
Administration and Finance
- Dirección de Talento Humano (DITAH) - Directorate of Human
- Dirección de Sanidad (DISAN) - Directorate of Health
- Dirección de Bienestar Social (DIBIE) - Directorate of Social
- Dirección de Incorporación (DINCO) - Directorate of
- Advisory offices:
- Inspección General (INSGE) - Inspector General
- Oficina de Planeación (OFPLA) - Planning Office
- Secretaria General (SEGEN) - Secretary General
- Oficina de Telemática (OFITE) - Office of
- Oficina de Comunicaciones Estratégicas (COEST) - Office of
The following Grupos especiales or Special Groups exist within the
See also: Search Bloc
- Región de Policía No. 1 - Police Region No. 1 based in
- Región de Policía No. 2 - Police Region No. 2 headquartered in
- Región de Policía No. 3 - Police Region No. 3 based in
- Región de Policía No. 4 - Police Region No. 4 based in
- Región de Policía No. 5 - Police Region No. 5 based in
- Región de Policía No. 6 - Police Region No. 6 headquartered in
- Región de Policía No. 7 - Police Region 7 based in
- Región de Policía No. 8 - Police Region No. 8 headquartered in
- Policía Metropolitana - Metropolitan Police - There are
metropolitan police commands in the six main cities of Bogota,
Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga.
- Departamento de Policía - Departmental Police - Colombia has
one of the departmental police command in each of the 32
departments, and for a specific area Urabá, Antioquia.
Both are subdivided as follows:
- Comando Operativo de Seguridad Ciudadana - Operational command
of Public Safety
- Distrito de Policía - Police District
- Estación de Policía - Police Station
- Subestación de Policía - Police Substation
- Comandos de Atención Inmediata – CAI - immediate attention
- Puesto de Policía - Police Posts
Colombian National Police
School locations in Colombia.
Motorcycle used by the
Colombian National Police
The Colombian National Police has 18 different facilities through
General Santander Academy
The General Santander National Police Academy is the main
educational center for the Colombian National Police. The academy
functions as a university for the formation of its force, focusing
primarily on officers. It is located in Bogotá.
- Armed speedboats.
- Transport trucks.
- Armored vehicles.
- Buffalo riot control vehicles
- Pick-Up Trucks for rural transport.
- Toyota Prado and Nissan Patrol Trucks for patrol.
- vans to transport prisoners and metropolitan work.
- Buses to transport prisoners from jail to jail.
- Chevrolet Optra work for
metropolitan and persecution.
- High powered motorcycles.
- Barracks and installations protected at national level. It also
has positions CAI'so urban security (small stations) in various
districts to attend an emergency quickly.
Servicio Aéreo de Policia (SAPOL) operates a growing fleet of
aircraft to support operations.
Historic Civil Guards now abolished