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Department of Federal Police
Departamento de Polícia Federal
Common name Federal Police
Abbreviation DPF or PF
Coat of arms of the Brazilian Federal Police.svg
Badge of the Polícia Federal
Agency overview
Formed March 28, 1944
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency Brazil
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters SAS Quadra 6, Brasília, Brazil
Agency executive Leandro Daiello Coimbra, Diretor Geral
Parent agency Ministry of Justice

The Polícia Federal (in English: Federal Police) is the federal criminal investigation police agency of Brazil. It is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice, whose main assignments are the investigations of crimes against the Federal Government and its institutions, the combat of international drug trafficking and terrorism, cyber-crime, organized crime, public corruption and white-collar crime, money laundry, and also immigration and border control police (including airport enforcement and maritime police). Differently of the Mexican and Argentine Federal Police, the Brazilian Federal Police had very specific assignments (it is mainly a federal investigation agency), and aren't intended to perform basic municipal police service (which are assignment of the Brazil's Civil and Military Police). The Federal Police is the Brazilian equivalent of the American FBI, DEA, ATF, TSA, USBP, INS and Secret Service all rolled into one.

Legal Authority[edit]

The Federal Police's mandate is established on the 1st. paragraph of the 144th article of Brazilian Federal Constitution, which establishes the following assignments:[1]

1. Investigate criminal offense against political and social order, or against goods, services and interests of Brazilian federal government, its organs and companies, as well as interstate and international crime in a need of uniform repression in Brazil;

2. Prevent and repress drug traffic and smuggling;

3. To be the Brazilian's maritime police, air transport enforcement, immigration and border patrol;

4. Exercise, exclusively, the functions of criminal investigation's police of the federal government (which means federal and interstate crime);

Federal Police Agent badge and service pistol: Glock 9mm caliber

Other federal statues give the Federal Police, the authority and responsibility to:

  • Prevent and combat terrorism;
  • Ensure the safety of foreign heads of state and heads of international organizations when visiting Brazil;
  • Investigate cyber crime;[2]
  • Represent the International Police (Interpol) in Brazil;
  • Prevent and repress crime against indigenous people;
  • Investigate and repress public corruption and white-collar crime;[3]
  • Investigate and repress organized crime
  • Regulate via licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms and ammunition by civilian people in Brazil;[4]
  • Repress the environmental's criminal offense
  • Manage the national's database of criminal's genetic profiles;[5]
  • Prevent and process the violation of human rights and civil rights;[6]
  • Investigate and repress money laundering;
  • Assist the other Brazilian's police on investigations, when requested
  • Run the Witness Protection Program


The former President of Brazil, Getulio Vargas, and his personal guard from the DFSP

In March 1944, the former capital of the Republic, Rio de Janeiro, the police of the Federal District was transformed into the Federal Department of Public Safety ("Departamento Federal de Segurança Pública", in Portuguese language, or simply DFSP). The idea was create a police with jurisdiction in the whole country (not only in its original State). Despite its name change, initially the DFSP only served in the Federal District, but acted at the national level at the maritime police.

In the first half of 1946 the DFSP mission was extended to the whole country, especially in some cases, such as the illegal trade of narcotics and crimes against public faith, when the interest of National Finance. However, the new 18 September Constitution, the states have given powers to meet their needs of government and administration, is considered a kind of limited autonomy that the existence of a security with national performance.

With the move of the Federal Capital in 1960, the DFSP moved to Brasília, also providing Guanabara State their public security services, and much of its personnel. Due to the shortage of staff, the DFSP had to be restructured, merging its staff with another local security agency from Brasila (called Special Guard of Brasilia - GEB). Afterwards, the DFSP was refurbished, trying to improve the Agency structure, following the model of police forces in England, United States (specially the FBI) and Canada and will have, effectively, tasks throughout the whole Brazilian territory. From November 16,1964, day edition of the Law No. 4483 and up to date now celebrated as its largest. Also in 1967, the new Brazilian Constitution changed the agency name to Departamento de Policia Federal (Department of Federal Police) through art.210 of Decree-Law No. 200 of February 25, 1967.[7] As a federal investigation agency, the mainly government idea (after the 1960s), was to mold the Federal Police with the shape and effectiveness of the American FBI. Accordingly, in the year of 1996, all careers of the Federal Police turned to bachelor's degree.


With an area of expertise that covers all national territory, the Federal Police Department adopts similar structure shared by state Civil Police forces throughout the country, but with an administrative structure that allows planning, coordination and centralized control with decentralized execution. Integration with the other federal and state government agencies on a routine basis occur through formal requests, but eventually there is a high level of coordination.

Bomb disposal unit of the Brazilian Federal Police
Action in a favela.

The Director-General provides accounting and technical support agencies in Brasília, entrusted with the tasks of planning, coordination and control.

For the operational activities, the DPF has 27 regional superintendents (the office in a state capital), 95 Federal Police offices (called Delegacias), 12 border outposts, 12 maritime (or riverine) bases and 2 bases on inland waterways.

The Brazilian Federal Police is essentially run by Federal Police Commissioners, who command investigations, request search and arrest warrants, decide on the arrest of a criminal etc. The field investigations and operational services are performed by the Federal Agents (Agentes de Polícia Federal). The agency also had Forensic specialists (Peritos Criminais Federais), Notary Agents (Escrivães de Polícia Federal) and fingerprints specialists (Papiloscopistas Policiais Federais).

Armored speedboat of special maritime police service (NEPOM), the marine arm of the Brazilian federal police

A bachelor degree is required for candidates to apply for any position in Federal Police. Commissioners must have a Law degree, since they perform tasks similar to those of a prosecutor and judge. No previous police experience is required for any jobs. Candidates applying for a position as Federal Agent, Notary Agent and Fingerprints specialist, are required a bachelor degree in any area. Candidates applying for Forensics specialists should have specific degrees, depending on their area of expertise, such as Civil Engineering, Veterinary, Accounting and Chemistry degrees.

Admission tests for the Federal Police have one of the highest candidates per spot ratio in the Country, especially for the higher positions such as Commissioners and Forensics Specialists, who can earn $130,000+ per year at the end of the career.

Tactical Operations Command[edit]

Federal Police's elite force: Tactical Operations Command (COT)
PF police helicopter in Amazon jungle

The COT - Comando de Operações Táticas (Command of tactical operations) of the Federal Police was created in 1987 by the Ministry of Justice through the Federal Police Department − DPF with a mission of responding to terrorist attacks inside the country. To do so, its members were trained in technical and tactical units of the Special Armed Forces in Brazil and abroad − in special units in the U.S., France and Germany (especially by GSG-9). Today, this elite force for armed action plays a large range of operations.

Throughout its existence, the COT has participated in several high risk missions such as drug seizures in the country, expropriation actions, rural conflicts, VIP security, dismantling of criminal organizations, and is commonly used to escort high risk prisoners.

To belong to the COT the applicant must be of the ranks of the Federal Police. The training involving tactical and physical disciplines are practiced with the same intensity of the Training Course of the National Police Academy − ANP, including training by other specialized forces in the country, such as Rio de Janeiro's Military Police elite group called BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) especialized in urban operations.

The headquarters of the COT is in Brasília, in an area of 40 thousand square meters, located in Police Sector South, which sends players on missions to Brazil.

Operational Aviation Coordination[edit]

Embraer ERJ 145, one of the two belonging to the Brazilian Federal Police

The CAOP (Coordenação de Aviação Operacional - Aviation Operational Coordination) is a unit of federal police agents, responsible for transportation policeman to anywhere in the country, besides the air support operations to the Federal Police.

Was established in 1986, because the demand for transportation to any place, quickly, and the need for air support in the actions and tactics without having to depend on the Armed Forces.

In 1995 the corporation had the name of advising operational issues when he received three aircraft, two Bell 412 and an HB-350 Squirrel. Already in 1996 the Office became the Division of Aviation Operations. In the year 1999 the unit won these assignments and in 2001 finally received the current designation of CAOP.

It is planned that by 2011, is built a second basis for CAOP. The base will be installed in the Amazon, and for that he is in the process of acquiring two Bell 412 and a Cessna Caravan 208B.

The unit is divided into two squadrons, one fixed-wing and the other rotorcraft.

Its current fleet includes:

Aircraft Quantity Comments
Helibras AS.350B2Squirrel 02
Helibras AS.355NSquirrel 02
Bell 412 02 2 more in order.
Embraer ERJ-145 02 One of operates in conjunction with the National Public Security Force
Cessna C-208B Grand Caravan 02 Another is planned to be purchased.
Neiva NE-821 Carajá 01
Beech King Air 02
IAI Heron 03 12 in order


The Federal Police Department issues all agents graduating from the National Police Academy a Glock 17 or Glock 19 or Glock 26 according to the agent's preference. Other equipment include the M4 carbine, HK G36K, HK MP5, HK416, HK417, MSG90, SG 550, Blaser R93 Tactical and the recent acquired H&K MG4.


Despite the large range of attributions, including immigration services, border patrol, oversight of private security, and others, institutionally it has focused its human and financial resources on criminal investigations.

Financially, the DPF is very susceptible to changes in government and has been commonly amongst the first structures to have resources shortened in government-wide need to cut spending.

Internally, routine work is paper-driven legal procedures of the Brazilian criminal inqury and very centralized in the position of the Delegado (police chief), requiring always his command to execute tasks ranging from requesting office material to questioning suspects.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

See also[edit]

External pages[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Police_(Brazil) — Please support Wikipedia.
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