On Thursday September 25, 2014, Zacatecoluca Bishop Elías Samuel Bolaños Avelar; Fr. Fidel Cortez Bonilla and leaders of Jesus Redeemer Parish in Village of San Pedro Barahona Masahuat; and leaders from the Village of St. Therese ( municipality of Santiago Nonualco) met with Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde, the Director General of the National Police Force (PNC); Veronica Urrutia, the Police Chief of the Central Region; and Eduardo Ernesto Linares Maravilla, Deputy Police Commissioner of the Department of La Paz to present and discuss the results of the COFOA listening campaign that began in March 2014.
Another purpose of this meeting was to deliver a letter with over 400 signatures (including names and identification numbers) of residents from Barhanona with a request for a police substation to help bring peace and security to this and neighboring communities which has been effected by the presence of gangs and other criminal groups.
COFOA leaders had delivered a letter requesting a meeting with the Director Ramirez Landaverde on September 16, but the Director was kind enough to come to Zacatecoluca and meet with leaders of COFOA at the offices of Bishop Elías Samuel Bolaños who personally thanked them for coming to the Department. COFOA leaders know the importance of building relationships and also thanked the Director General for his attention to this meeting. The major outcome of this meeting was the commitment by the Director to send a detachment of the rural police to be stationed in this village. Fr. Cortez and the Barahona leaders promised to make a house available as a police substation in their rural community.
Community and law enforcement must be united in the fight against crime and COFOA leaders understand this requires ongoing work that cannot stop or be neglected. So they will be meeting every Friday afternoon to receive leadership training and attend to the concerns of their community.