Panama’s deputy security minister revealed that 2,647 members of the National Police have been removed from the force for misconduct over the past two years.
Deputy Minister Alejandro Garuz’s statement came during a graduation ceremony for 350 new police officers.
The director of the National Police, Gustavo Perez, later stated that the police were discharged for involvement in various crimes and misdemeanors, and provided the example of two officers arrested earlier in the week in the area of San Miguelito, outside Panama City, for alleged ties to a cocaine trafficking operation.
Perez emphasized that the government is addressing police corruption and criminality through mechanisms like its "integrity program," which requires all officers to sit polygraph tests.
The U.S. State Department has stated that Panama's police are "penetrated" by drug trafficking organizations.