Law enforcement in Panama
Panama abolished its army in 1990, confirmed by a unanimous vote by the National Assembly of Panama for constitutional change in 1994. Some units within the Public Force (Police, Coast Guard, Air Service and Institutional Security) have limited warfare capabilities.
The Panamanian National Police are structured para-militarily, in terms of ranks. Ranks are similar to police ranking in the United States. Police stations are present in every district, and the country as a whole is divided into Zonas Policiales (Police Zones) which cover a major city or province.
The National Police is watched over by Comisionado Omar A. Pinzón M., the Commissioner of Police.
The police in Panama have numerous vehicles at their disposal. The police recently went through a livery change from white with blue trim to a navy blue/ white color, which in the dark can seem like a black- and- white.
Panamanian authorities have adopted a curfew policy for youths under age 18. Students who are attending night classes must carry a permit or identification card, provided by the school or an official certified person. Youths under 18 who are caught without them are subject to detention at a police station until they are released to their legal guardians. A fine around $50.00 is issued to the legal guardians if the youth is apprehended for the first time.
Curfews consist of special strategic checkpoints around the main streets in Panama. Each person inside a vehicle must carry their identification cards or be accompanied by their legal guardians. Authorities have helped slowly decrease the amount of unattended youths loitering around the streets. Most thefts and kidnappings are carried out by minors.
- World Police Encyclopedia, ed. by Dilip K. Das & Michael Palmiotto. by Taylor & Francis. 2004,
- World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Correctional Systems, 2nd. edition, Gale., 2006
- Sullivan, Larry E. et al. Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2005.