RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 2 (UPI) — The city of Rio de Janeiro is expected to increase its deployed police force from 10,400 to nearly 14,000 by suspending vacations and special leave during the Olympic Games, a surge of more than 30 percent.
Col. Edison Duarte, Rio’s police commander, on Monday also announced police officers who would normally be assigned to desk jobs would be patrolling the city’s streets during the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.
More officers will be deployed to the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, in which the Olympic Park, Olympic Village — where the athletes live — and most sporting venues are located. Overall, about 85,000 security officers will be deployed to Rio during the games — made up of state police, the Brazilian Armed Forces, the Brazilian Navy and police from other states.
Duarte said more than 3,000 vehicles will be used by security officials during the Olympics, including three blimps that will fly over the city to transmit high resolution images. About 600 officers will be deployed to police stations tasked to patrol the Brazilian favelas, or shanty towns, that security forces deemed as “pacified” after carrying out operations to free the areas from powerful drug gangs.
Opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games are scheduled to take place Friday. In addition to security problems in Rio, there are potential health risks. Long sleeves have been recommended for all visitors coming to Brazil for the Olympics due to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has caused birth defects and some neurological problems in adults.