Carabineros de Chile

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Carabiniers of Chile
Carabineros de Chile
Roundel of Carabineros de Chile.svg
Logo of the Carabiniers of Chile
Motto Orden y Patria
Order & Fatherland
Agency overview
Formed April 27, 1927[1]
Preceding agency Cuerpo de Carabineros
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
[[ Chile]]
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by Dirección General
Headquarters Santiago de Chile
Agency executive Gustavo González Jure, Director General

Carabiners of Chile (Spanish: Carabineros de Chile ) are the Chilean national police force who have jurisdiction over the entire national territory of Chile.

Created in 1927, their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country. They report to the Ministerio de Defensa Nacional (Ministry of National Defense) through the Undersecretary of Carabiniers. Since 2011 the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security has full control over them, thus fully separating it from the three other branches by department but still considered a part of the armed forces. Chile also has an investigative police force, the Investigations Police of Chile, also under the Interior and Public Security Ministry; a Maritime Police also exists for patrol of Chile's coastline.


The origins of the Carabiniers can be traced back to night watchmen such as the Dragones de la Reina (Queen's Dragoons) (created in 1758 and later renamed the Dragoons of Chile in 1812) and other organizations that fulfilled functions such as the watch and local policing.

Later, cities such as Santiago and Valparaíso created their own city police forces. In 1881 the Rural Police (Policía Rural) was created for the rural areas of the country. However, the main problem with these police services was that they were dependent on local authorities for day-to-day decision making. This led to local officials abusing this power for their own political ends. In 1896 the Policía Fiscal (Prosecuting Police) was created to serve the cities.

The first policing organization with the name "Carabiniers" was the Corps of Carabiniers, in Spanish Cuerpo de Carabineros (with similar meaning as the Italian Carabinieri), formed in 1903 to bring law and order to the Araucanía Region of Southern Chile (then much larger than today). A Carabinier Regiment and Gendarme Corps were later raised thanks to German practice. They were by then a Chilean Army unit, thus the reason why the Carabiniers of today sport military ranks and insignia. In 1908 the Carabiniers' School (Escuela de Carabineros, currently located in Providencia) was created.

Carabiniers of Chile (1927)[edit]

On April 27, 1927, President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo merged the Fiscal Police (Policía Fiscal), the Rural Police (Policia Rural), and the existing Corps of Carabiniers to form the Carabiniers of Chile, one unified, paramilitary and national security institution under the direction of the national government. The organization still carries the name given to it by Ibáñez, who became the Carabiniers' first Director General. In 1929 its official coat of arms - two white crossed carbines in a green shield - was formally adopted. The service in 1930 became one of the pioneer mobile police forces in Latin America. By 1933 the Investigations Police of Chile was created in the basis of the investigations service. In 1939 the service received its own staff college, the Police Sciences Academy.

The Air Operations Prefecture, the air arm of the service, was raised in 1960.

1962 would see it become the first among the Chilean uniformed services to include women into its ranks. The next year, the Children and Fatherland Foundation was formed as its social responsibility arm for troubled kids and preteens.

In 1973, the Carabiniers, headed by General Cesar Mendoza Duran, later appointed Director General, joined the Chilean coup of 1973 under the lead of the Army, Navy and Air Forces leaders, that overthrew President Salvador Allende. As such, the Carabiniers' commander was a formal member of the Military Government Junta (1973–1990), as well as members of the institution taking on administrative roles, such as being in charge of the Ministry of Education.

In 1974, formal command of the service was handed over to the Chilean Ministry of National Defense, and it was integrated into the ranks and traditions of the Chilean Armed Forces as a result. Until 2011, this was the case for the service, from that year onward it is a part of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security.


The Carabiniers' current mission is to maintain or re-establish order and security in Chilean society through civic education, service to the community, police work, and in a war situation, to act as a military force (all their members have military training). Under the current Chilean constitution the Carabiniers are integrated directly into the Armed Forces in a state of emergency to better guarantee the public order.

They also have a special armed police unit called the Special Police Operations Group (GOPE or Grupo de Operaciones Policiales Especiales). There is also an Elite Corps in charge of security in La Moneda Palace and for the President - whose cavalry troop is one of two horse guards units of the Republic, the latter having been raised recently and also serves as the youngest, and also sports an infantry battalion.

They travel in heavily armored trucks from which they can spray pressured water to control mobs.

The Carabineros have recently replaced their Ruger P90 with the 9mm SIG P220. While most police forces issue the Chilean FAMAE revolver or the Brazilian Taurus Model 82, increasing numbers have adopted the Austrian Glock 17.

Aircraft inventory[edit]

The Carabiniers operate 35 aircraft in support of their operations, including 10 helicopters. Recently, 4 Augusta A109E[2] have been acquired.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[3]
Agusta A109  Italy Utility transport Agusta A109E 5
AgustaWestland AW139  Italy Utility transport Agusta AW139 1
Bell 206  United States Utility helicopter 206B 1
Cessna 182  United States Utility 182Q 5
Cessna 206  United States Utility 3
Cessna 208  United States Utility 1
Cessna 210  United States Utility transport 5
Cessna Citation  United States VIP transport 550 Citation II 2
Eurocopter Bo 105  Germany Utility helicopter Bo 105C
Bo 105LSA-3
Eurocopter EC 135  Germany Utility helicopter EC 135 T1 1
MBB/Kawasaki BK 117  Germany
Utility helicopter BK117B-1 2
Piper PA-31 Navajo  United States Utility transport PA-31
PA-31T Cheyenne


Patrol cars[edit]

Dodge charger of Carabineros de Chile.

Vehicle Origin Function
Dodge Charger  United States Highway patrol
Chevrolet Cruze LS  United States Patrol and Traffic enforcement
Mercedes Benz Sprinter  Germany City Patrol
Nissan Terrano  Japan Patrol and Traffic enforcement


Vehicle Origin Function
BMW R1200-RT  Germany Highway Patrol

Special operations (Grupo de Operaciones Policiales Especiales)[edit]

Vehicle Origin Function
Renault Sherpa 2  France Armored vehicle
Chevrolet Tahoe  United States Transport Unit
Chevrolet Suburban
Hyundai H1  South Korea

Ranks of the Chilean Carabiniers[edit]

Enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers[edit]

Chilean and foreign NCOs enter the service through enrollment at the Carabiniers Formation School and receive further training as corporals at the Carabiniers NCO Academy, both located in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, and some of them have later training at the various service schools of the Carabiniers specializing in frontier defense, horsemanship and K-9 training and handling skills.

  • Carabinero alumno (Student Carabinier)
  • Carabinero (Carabinier)
  • Cabo Segundo (Second Corporal)
  • Cabo Primero (First Corporal)
  • Sargento Segundo (Sergeant)
  • Sargento Primero (First Sergeant)
  • Suboficial (Sub-officer)
  • Suboficial Mayor (Subofficer Major)

Commissioned officers[edit]

Officers of the Carabiners, native born or foreign officers having scholarships, start out as officer aspirants at the Carabinier Officers School "Pres. Gen. Carlos Ibanez del Campo" in Santiago, and after graduating become sublieutenants either in Chile or in their home countries. Later training is provided by the Police Sciences Academy also in Santiago, and in the aforementioned specialty schools of the force.

  • Aspirante a oficial (Officer Aspirant)
  • Subteniente (Sublieutenant)
  • Teniente (Lieutenant)
  • Capitan (Captain)
  • Mayor (Major)
  • Teniente Coronel (Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Coronel (Colonel)
  • General (General)
  • General Inspector (Inspector General)
  • General Director (Director General)


  1. ^ "Día del Carabinero". Icarito. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Entrega de 2 helicopteros en presencia de la Presidenta
  3. ^ "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.

External links[edit]