SOLLIMS Sampler Volume 10, Issue 1 - Page 7

…Looting in the capital (and in Colón on the other side of the isthmus) that began on 20 December went unchecked for several days, with a cost to the Panamanian economy of an estimated $1 to $2 billion. …U.S. MPs were stretched too thin to stop the looting. They found themselves running a detention center, guarding convoys, and performing other security tasks instead. There simply were not enough MPs to cover all the law and order problems that needed to be addressed in the first days of the operation. (Yates, p. 51) Along with restoring civil security/order, OJC’s concept of operation included other law enforcement-related tasks, such as conducting detention, screening detainees, and clearing detainee warrants: Clearing warrants became an important aspect of the OJC mission that, while not planned for in advance, was readily performed by deployed U.S. personnel. Organization and accomplishment of this line of operation required close USMS and military collaboration. The USMS team worked with MPs to check the identities of prisoners of war against the warrants. Some USMS Special Operations Group (SOG) deputies accompanied the military to prisons and detention centers to seek out and arrest those with outstanding warrants issued against them. As the detention mission was larger than expected, it became a challenge for the USMS team. The task grew to include processing several thousand detainees. Normally, U.S. personnel supporting host-nation officials would accomplish this, but the collapse of the Panamanian government left this entirely to a small group of U.S. officials. [Also] … it became quickly apparent that there was a need to extend screening for wanted persons to passengers traveling in and out of the airport. This task fell primarily to USMS personnel who were already screening detainees for outstanding warrants. The USMS team began to screen passengers traveling through the airport to ensure that they were not among those on USG wanted lists and to prevent the smuggling of contraband. MP canine units supported the search for contraband. The USMS team also maintained coordination and communication with the DEA and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The military provided airport security (U.S. Army Rangers provided perimeter security) while agents from the USMS, DEA, and FBI operated inside. Some MPs and regular army personnel conducted static post and roving patrols inside the airport premises (including MP dog handlers). MPs also manned checkpoints at the airport’s perimeter. (Jayamaha, pp. 17-19) For the simultaneously-conducted Operation Promote Liberty, key law enforcement tasks were: (1) “maintain law and order” and (2) “reestablish host nation law enforcement capacity.” For the 1 st task: From January through June 1990, approximately 200 U.S. Army personnel patrolled the streets of Panama City and the outlying provinces to maintain order. The new Panamanian government with U.S. assistance screened former PDF personnel and after weeding out those who were known to have been corrupt or violated human rights, incorporated the screened personnel into the new forces. When these Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 6 of 36