Justice News

Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at Puerto Rico Agreement Press Conference
United States
~
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thank you, Governor, for that kind introduction.  You and your administration – particularly, Secretary Sánchez Betances – have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the safety and welfare of the people of Puerto Rico.  You are fortunate to have Superintendent Pesquera at the helm of the Puerto Rico Police Department because he is a dedicated leader who believes in bringing true reform and accountability to the police department.  And under his leadership since April 2012, through unprecedented collaboration, brave and dedicated women and men of the police department have partnered with our federal law enforcement agencies to achieve measurable successes in combatting violent crime and protecting the people of Puerto Rico.

But we know that our work is far from done.  Later this afternoon, we will present our Agreement to Judge Gelpí at the courthouse down the street.  And one of the critical portions of the Agreement that we will highlight is the section that addresses community engagement because we know that community leaders – many of whom have assisted us in our investigation – are essential for sustainable reform.  The agreement will serve as a vehicle to strengthen and restore their confidence in the hard-working men and women of the police department. 

Tomorrow, I will meet with Puerto Rico Police Department’s command staff and Community Interaction Councils to underscore that while the road to reform and effective crime prevention must begin in Cuartel General, it also must extend into and throughout the community.  And because this agreement serves to protect and uphold the aspirations of police officers and community members alike, we will continue our engagement with them in the coming days, weeks and years.

Today’s agreement is part of a broader comprehensive effort that this Administration has made to Puerto Rico.  Two years ago, the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status presented a report to the President with recommendations addressing public safety, economic development, health care, education and environmental issues, and we continue to work in concert with Puerto Rico to implement those recommendations.

As both the Associate Attorney General and the co-chair of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico, I look forward to our continued partnership with Governor García Padilla and his administration to protect both the safety and civil rights of the people of Puerto Rico.

And it is now my distinct pleasure to turn things over to someone who has been a critical partner in this reform effort – Secretary of Justice Luis Sánchez Betances.